Designing for engagement – what works well for you and your students?

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    • #850
      Brian BeattyBrian Beatty

      One of the biggest challenges that many experience when designing and teaching a high flex course is finding ways to engage students meaningfully throughout the term.

      One aspect of this is when you have students in the classroom and synchronous online at the same time, how do you engage both sets of students equitably? Do you use backchannels for students to communicate to each other (and perhaps even to you) throughout the class? If so, do you capture these backchannels for students to review later, or for asynchronous students to review and perhaps even comment into?

      Let’s talk about the opportunities and challenges we have, the technologies we can use, and any approaches that work well to connect students across all modes in engaging interaction during the class.

    • #956
      Melanie LefebvreMelanie Lefebvre

      Great question!

      For classes with group work, I’ll pair synchronous students together in a breakout room and they can check in with me through the chat feature as needed. I’ve also physically left the classroom to go into the hall and video chat with the synchronous students on my phone.

      If there’s only one synchronous student, I check to see what their comfort is with joining an in-person group via speakerphone or WhatsApp video chat, which they’ve always been okay with.

      For asynchronous students, I provide various suggestions e.g. pair up with another asynchronous student, ask someone in their household to help if possible, email me and request a meeting. Depending on the activity, I’ve had asynchronous students upload video/audio/text of their activity, even if it was done solo which we then circleback to as a class.

      Finally, for asynchronous students, I make sure to summarize key discussion points from the breakout groups and/or ask students to reinact what they did so it can be recorded for all.

    • #1523
      Kim GravesKim Graves

      So far, I have been using the discussion board in our learning management system and the chat feature in Zoom for cross modal engagement.

      I teach computer science so it is very problem-solution based. Each week’s in-class exercise is posted in the discussion board for that week. For students who are in the classroom and synchronous, they do the example during class: either in groups, pairs, or individually and post their solutions in the discussion board. Then we can talk about the different approaches to the problem and features of a good solution as a group with everyone having access to each attempted solution. I can pull up individual solutions on the display at the front of the class (and shared via zoom) as we discuss them. Students then take a few minutes to reflect on improvements that could/should be made to their first attempts and post those reflections and revised solutions in the discussion board.

      Asynchronous students also post their first solutions to the problem in the same discussion board either before or after class (no one can see anyone else’s solution until they’ve made their first attempt). They then review the other solutions after class and make a helpful suggestion to at least one other student and finally make a revision to their original solution improving on it based on the feedback in the discussion. This way, all students are participating in the same activity and have the opportunity to interact with each other no matter which mode they attend that week.

      Aside from questions for me, Zoom chat is mostly capturing small banter (a connection you might whisper to a friend if you were in the classroom). I just encourage the students in the classroom to also log in to Zoom if they would like to see what is going on in the chat.

      All in classroom students have access to a computer during class which is what makes the above possible.

      Looking forward to hearing how others engage students across all modes!

    • #1543
      Brian BeattyBrian Beatty

      Kim, it sounds like you have an effective process for your classes. It is relatively simple, which is good! I use similar approaches in my courses 🙂


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