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Center for Teaching Excellence

  • Active Learning

Active Learning in Online Classes

Active learning involves engaging students directly in the learning process through various activities or learning opportunities, which increases student learning outcomes. This technique applies to online classes as well. As with F2F classes, use active learning techniques strategically, as a method for both engagement and assessment. Active learning opportunities will allow you to break up the lecture while still checking for student learning. 

Active Learning Online:  If there are strategies you use in your traditional class, there’s a tool that you can find to help bring that practice online. Consult with an Instructional Designer for recommendations.  

  1. Online case study analysis can take place using Discussion Boards, Wikis, Journals, or even a multiple-choice test.
  2. Collaborative projects can occur in Blackboard Collaborate Whiteboard, Office365 ClassNote, Google Cloud’s Jamboard, or Goboard. See Low Stakes Formative Assessment Strategies for more ideas. 
  3. Break-out rooms, Discussion Groups, Discussion Boards

Online Discussions can occur in Blackboard Discussion Boards, VoiceThread, GroupMe, Slack, or another tool. Small group discussions can occur asynchronously in Blackboard Groups or synchronously in Bb Collaborate Ultra breakout rooms. Note that these can be difficult to do with more than approximately 50 students – need multiple moderators (teaching assistants, explicit planning, and assessments or activities to be done in individual rooms). If you use break-out rooms or groups for collaborative work, specify rules and roles for students:  note taker, agenda setter, discussion facilitator, project lead, person to submit final project, etc.  Student can switch roles to gain experience in multiple roles.

Automated Student Response Systems (Polling Options) 

  • Blackboard Collaborate Polling
  • iClicker REEF: Two options are available for instructors: iClicker Classic and iClicker Cloud. Both run locally (you present from the applications you already use e.g.  PowerPoint) rather than having to author your question content in our platform. iClicker works best in a synchronous environment. View a short video on Using iClicker Cloud for Remote Instruction.
  • List of additional polling software options

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