Student-to-Student Contact Ideas (Read ours, share yours!)
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!
Hi, I want to use Padlet for a discussion. I have it all set up and ready to go as a page in Canvas. My question is do students need to get the Padlet app to add a comment anonymously? I tried to get Padlet loaded into Canvas as an external app but it wasn't on the list of available apps.
Thanks for your help.
@Mary K Ellison Hi Mary - no, students don't need to create a Padlet account to post anonymously. That's the great thing about Padlet - they only need the link to the Padlet - or - if you embed the Padlet in your Canvas class then they can access it right there.
Conversely, if you want student's names to be associated with their Padlet posts, then they DO need to create a free account.
Sometimes, you'll encounter a student who happens to have a Padlet account and their posts will show up with their name, while everyone else's posts are anonymous. That's because they're logged into Padlet and it recognizes them as a member.
To force all posts to be anonymous, go to your Padlet and click the little gear icon in the upper-right corner. Then make sure "Attribution (display author's name above post)" is toggled to the off position. Then save!
Finally, this video I made a while back on Padlets may be helpful, if you haven't watched it yet.
Note - you can jump to the 16-minute point in the video to review how to embed a fully functional Padlet into Canvas.