Student to Student Interactions
Research has demonstrated that student interaction, in online courses, is associated with enhanced critical thinking skills (Guiller, Durndell, & Ross, 2008), increased satisfaction (Jung, Choi, Lim, & Leem, 2002), and higher levels of academic achievement (Swan, 2002).
In an online environment, instructors can foster student-to-student interaction by building opportunities into their course design synchronously and asynchronously. To promote student to student interaction, and to build community, ensure the opportunities for interaction are structured, collaborative, and inclusive.
Creating successful student-to-student activities
Below are some strategies that will help create positive and productive interactions between your student.
- To improve students’ critical thinking and communication skills, usePDF file debate activities, opens in new window in your teaching through Zoom, opens in new window/Google Meet , opens in new windowor discussion boards. , opens in new windowFor example, in Zoom, you can separate students into breakout rooms , external link, opens in new window(4-5 students per group) and ask them to prepare for the debate by collaboratively researching and contributing to a shared google doc, opens in new window that they can submit at the end. Combine groups of students that are on the same side of the debate and give them time to share ideas and strategies before returning to the main session, external link, opens in new window and beginning your debate.
- To engage students, and increase participation, during synchronous sessions, use a quick, collaborative activity such as PDF fileThink-Pair-Share, opens in new window by separating students into breakout rooms on Zoom, external link, opens in new window
- To apply practical skills such as interviewing techniques, usePDF file role-play, opens in new window activities by separating students into breakout rooms on Zoom, external link, opens in new window and asking them to practice different roles (e.g., nurse and patient) and different skills. When students return to the main session, external link, opens in new window, you can have a few students demonstrate for the class.Asynchronously, you can ask students to create a short video of themselves and upload them to Google Drive to share with the class, opens in new window.
- To help students collaboratively solve a problem and apply theory to the real world, separate students into PDF filegroups, opens in new window; use thePDF file case method , opens in new windowby asking students to contribute to a shared Google doc, opens in new window or use the Groups tool , opens in new windowin D2L Brightspace to facilitate private group discussions and submission of group assignments.
- To facilitate discussion about difficult readings, use a PDF file‘quescussion’ , opens in new windowthrough discussion boards, the chat box on Zoom, external link, opens in new window, or Jamboard , external link, opens in new windowon Google Meets.
- After students have completed an assignment (e.g., google docstudent to content interaction, external link, opens in new window), you can promote deeper engagement with the content by asking students to PDF fileassess the work of their peers, opens in new window using peerScholar through your D2L Brightspace course shell.
- In a project-based course, students can share their work-in-progress, opens in new window and receive feedback that they can incorporate into their final project using WordPress blog, opens in new window.
- To increase critical thinking skills, ask students to provide feedback to their peers by justifying their comments in real-time using breakout rooms, external link, opens in new window in Zoom.
- To minimize biases associated with existing peer relationships, consider asking students to provide anonymous feedback through google forms, opens in new window.
Teaching a large class?
Take a look at our guide to google docBuilding Community in Large Classes: Social Presence, external link for some tips.
Guiller, J., Durndell, A., & Ross, A. (2008). Peer interaction and critical thinking: Face-to-face or online discussion?. Learning and instruction, 18(2), 187-200.
Jung, I., Choi, S., Lim, C., & Leem, J. (2002). Effects of different types of interaction on learning achievement, satisfaction and participation in web-based instruction. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 39(2), 153-162.
Swan, K. (2002). Building learning communities in online courses: The importance of interaction. Education, Communication & Information, 2(1), 23-49.