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Student-to-Student Contact Ideas (Read ours, share yours!)  

Jennifer Azzaro
Eminent Member Moderator

Student-to-Student contact is about giving students different avenues to talk to each other, share their life experiences, and form a community. In some cases, you'll need to make these items required or gradable to ensure student participation.

Some things you can do to encourage this contact are:

  • Provide well-crafted discussion questions and/or small groups to encourage meaningful exchange.
  • Host a "virtual study group" using ConferZoom. Record the session and post a link to it in your course Files or Announcements for students who couldn't attend to view or comment on later.
  • Group work.
  • Peer reviews.
  • "Getting to know each other" activities at different points throughout the semester instead of only at the beginning.
  • Have students create and share video assignments using Adobe Spark.
  • Embed a Padlet in Canvas to collect different kinds of information in a fun, visual way.
  • Pin a "Student Lounge" forum to the top of your Discussions for Student-to-Student Q&A (but do check in to make sure students aren't sharing incorrect information).
  • Set up a forum for voluntary, virtual study groups.
  • Turn on the Chat tool in your Canvas shell.
  • In Discussions, during the first week of class, try prompting students to support each other early on. For example: Studies show 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations while only 14% trust advertisements... Experienced online learners! Please share three things you have learned from taking online or hybrid classes. What surprised you? What worked for you? What advice do you have for your peer consumers - your classmates?
  • Here's another example: New online learners! Please share how you're feeling at this point in the class. Are you nervous, excited, worried? What are your expectations or concerns? Experienced online learners! Please share some advice to support your classmates who are new to online learning. Everyone should post at least once!
  • Clearly state Student-to-Student participation expectations in your Syllabus or introductory Module, and remind students of this throughout the semester.
  • Set an example. If you want students to respond to their classmates in a discussion, or do a peer review, show them an exemplary response or review from a previous student - or make one up yourself.
  • If you're having students do group work, clearly define what each person's role in the group should be, and how that role will be evaluated.
  • Open a Question & Answer forum or online office hour to provide guidance on a specific assignment (e.g. Group Project Q&A).
  • If your practice is to have students respond to one or more classmates in each discussion, attach a rubric to the discussion and be sure to check the box to Use this rubric for grading.

We know we can't make students attend a virtual study group or post a question to their classmates in the Q&A forum, but we can offer those resources and encourage students to use them. The goal here is to stay away from the correspondence education model, where the student's only lifeline is the teacher.

Do you have an idea for Student-to-Student Contact?  What's working in your class?  Share it here!

Posted : April 24, 2020 12:20 pm

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