One of the most effective ways for a student to really master a concept is to present/teach that topic to their peers. This aligns with pitfall #4- expecting students to consume knowledge rather than create it. One of the hardest aspects of distance or online learning is that the mode of delivery can determine the level of interest of the students. To combat this, creating ways for the students to interact with the content in a way that builds ownership of it can affect the overall learning. A good example of this is to use a discussion board to have each student “teach” their peers about a specific topic covered in that module. I saw this used frequently in a research concepts class, and it was incredibly helpful. Not only did we all get to learn our own topics, but we were able to ask clarifying questions of each other. This meant that occasionally, more work was needed by certain students to clarify their topic. The atmosphere was interactive, collaborative, and it also managed to build a community feel. We were all very invested in each other’s learning from this.
In the case of my intended course (WSE 210), I would love to have the students describe the differences in structure of a species of tropical wood. At this juncture, we do not cover tropical woods, but this would be a really cool way for each student to specialize in one species and for everyone to get a taste of some of the tropical woods. It also allows them to have ownership over one species and become the class expert in that.