Continuing the topic on how to create a thriving social community on OpenLearning, this week, I will discuss activities that course creators can initiate to enhance interactivity in their course.

Online learning systems have traditionally entirely relied on submission drop-boxes or quiz-like assessments.

More advanced systems have started to introduce isolated interactive experiences with simulations and virtual environments.

While this is all possible on OpenLearning, the platform takes an additional step of encouraging teachers to create activities that facilitate community interaction.

You can incorporate activities that provide interactive collaboration and sharing with the tools provided to keep students immersed and engaged in your courses.

Sounds too good to be true?

Here are some activity ideas to actually make this happen:
  • Create/construct and share/exhibit (an activity that encourages self-expression)
    Example: Build something and exhibit it. Experience something and share it.openlearning_createandshare_example
  • Create/do and then compare, or cluster
    Example: Build something and then categorise it with things others have built. Discuss pros and cons of each others contributions. Compete, achieve recognition, then help others. Note that we refer to competition that fosters an attitude of helping each other to achieve new heights, rather than pitting against each other.
  • Reciprocal Teaching
    Example: Teach each other something. Let a student teach a topic.
  • Discover and Share
    Example: Find something interesting and show it to the rest similar to a show-and-tell.openlearning_discoverandshare_example
  • Append/Extend Discourse
    Example: Write the next part of a story, continue off from where someone else left off.
  • Crowd Curation, Approval, Feedback & Peer Review
    Example: Decide on favourite examples, praise what’s good about what each other has shared.
  • Crowdsource
    Example: Collect people’s experiences on an issue/scenario.openlearning_crowdsource_example
  • Contribute/Integrate and combine ideas or collaboratively edit
    Example: Write resources or a textbook together or brainstorm and then compare/filter the ideas.
  • Pass it on/take a turn
    Example: Find someone to show your thing to, they do something to it, and give it to someone else.
  • Role Play
    Example: Take on a persona, act out a scenario together.ezgif-5-6927c04913

Active learning experiences that are fun and meaningful are key to not only engaging your students, but also transforming them.

This will not only result in happier, motivated students but will also lead to increased completion and engagement rates within your online course.

Have you applied one or two of these methods in your course? Share your experience in the comment sections below!

 

Posted by David Collien

I'm the Chief Technology Officer at OpenLearning (although I sometimes spell it as "Teachnology" to see if anyone notices). I love building things in software and tinkering with technology, but my real passion is in its cross-disciplinary applications in the arts and humanities. While my past preoccupations have been with building robotic artworks, I now study the intersection of educational theory and technology practice. I recently started learning how to embroider, but my embroidery style leans toward weaving in some functional electronics.

One Comment

  1. I found this article timely and relevant. As someone who was a college student during the nascent stages of online learning, I’m very familiar with short answer drop-box submissions or multiple-choice quizzes to “check for understanding” and/ or completion. However, user bases are now starting to be drawn from a generation that grew up with vast amounts of technology and require more intentional interactivity in order to remain engaged and enthused. The suggestions presented remind me of recent reading I’ve done on the nature of memory and attention which focused on variety, meaningfulness, interest, and deep questions as tools for focusing and maintaining learner attention. As a former teacher and an aspiring instructional designer, it seems to me that a thorough knowledge of Costa’s Levels of Questioning would also be useful in creating and evaluating quality activities for an immersive and engaging online community. What are your thoughts on integrating methodologies such as Bloom’s Taxonomy of Questions and Costa’s Levels of Questioning with emerging technologies?

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