Adapting Common Classroom Activities
Active-Learning Activities for Online Modalities
Active Learning while Physically Distanced. This crowd-sourced document, begun by Jennifer Baumgartner at Louisiana State University, offers useful suggestions for adapting a wide array of common active learning activities for synchronous, asynchronous, and physically distanced modalities.
Colleagues here and at other CUNY campuses have used various annotation programs, including Hypothes.is to encourage close, critical reading. This tutorial from a CUNY Digital Fellow provides a complete walk-through of Hypothe.is.
Many faculty use breakout rooms in Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate during synchronous sessions to allow for group discussion and work. Phillipa Pitts from Boston University offers suggestions for keeping those breakout groups on task.
If you assign collaborative writing in your classes--asking students to compose sample paragraphs to practice quotation integration, for example--there are several ways to continue this practice online, even asynchronously.
- Some find Google Docs useful for collaborative writing because it allows multiple people to easily work on the same document.
- Google help guide: Instructions for setting up and working in Google Docs.
- All Together Now: Some Further Uses for Google Docs in the Composition Classroom by Tanya Sasser: A blog post exploring how Google Docs can be used to support collaborative brainstorming and writing.
- Cooperative In-Class Writing with Google Docs by Jim Trostle: While this is from an anthropology class, the discussed model of an in-class collaborative writing assignment using Google Docs seems highly adaptable to our discipline.
- Students can also work collaboratively in Blackboard using the Wiki tool.
A staple of ENG 125/126 and WRIT 300, the individual conference requires little in the way of adaptation to the online space. Some instructors find, however, that group conferences are especially productive for online classes because they allow the instructor and a small group of students to discuss common concerns in a group of paper drafts. This form of conference can also help foster engagement among students while also rendering the instructor’s workload more manageable.
Florida State University has a good overview of how to conduct different types of group conferences.
Tools in Blackboard for Activities
If you are basing your course in Blackboard, this table can help you determine which tools might be the most useful for a given activity.
|To do this activity||Consider one of these Blackboard tools|
|Collaborative Writing||Wiki; Discussion Board|
|Instructor Feedback on Drafts||Assignments; Blog; Discussion Board|
|Peer Review||Peer Mark (Turnitin); Discussion Board; Blog|
|Reflection||Blog; Discussion Board|
|Textual Discussion||Discussion Board; Wiki; Blog (set to class entry)|