Timely Teaching Tips: Weeks 5 and 6 – Student community building

By Emma Larkins, OSU Center for Teaching and Learning

Timely Teaching Tips logo on a classeroom blackboard

Study groups, social annotation and group projects

One of the key roles of instructors can be to support community building, which spurs engagement, interaction and collaboration among learners. Community building activities take various forms synchronously and asynchronously. They may be in a classroom or lab, in the field or the community, or online in Canvas and other platforms. Here are some practical suggestions to consider in your courses:

  • Helping Students Create Study Groups: Wondering how to help students create study groups? The Academic Success Center’s Conducting Study Groups page provides suggestions for setting up and facilitating group study. You can offer support by creating a Canvas discussion board conversation where students can connect with other students in your class who are interested in joining a study group.  
  • Using Annotations to Build Student Interaction: Seeking new methods to foster student interaction around course content in an inclusive manner? Read Social Annotation as a Learning Tool, a concise guide to the instructional purposes and benefits of collective annotation, leading annotation tools, and effective social annotation practices you can apply in your teaching. 
  • Resources for Students Approaching Group Projects: Are your students starting a team project in the second half of the term? Share the Academic Success Center’s Teamwork Makes the Dream Work Packet and provide class time for students to plan a positive, collaborative approach. The packet guides conversations on communication strategies, shared understanding of the project, and backward planning from milestones and due dates. 
  • Campus Study Spaces Resource: Share the Academic Success Center’s Places and Spaces for Studying Success with your students. They can evaluate their study spaces, consider elements of a productive space, identify physical strategies to support learning and see a list of Corvallis campus study spaces. 

About the author: Emma Larkins (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Oregon State University. Her professional background is in qualitative research, higher education assessment and evaluation, and advancing equity.

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of Timely Teaching Tips posts to provide just-in-time pedagogical techniques, strategies and guidance to support OSU instructional faculty. For daily Timely Teaching Tips throughout the academic year subscribe to OSU Today.

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