To provide strategies for implementing active learning exercises during COVID-19.
The precautions that will need to be taken for COVID-19 this fall present some new obstacles for face-to-face and remote instruction. This includes rethinking how to implement active learning which is well-known to support student learning. Specifically, given the necessity of masks and social distancing, classroom discussions and interactions will need to be reimagined. Below are a few strategies that faculty can utilize to still facilitate experiences where students actively engage in their learning.
One approach is to utilize digital tools that facilitate student-content, student-instructor, and student-student engagement.
When delivering a lesson in class, engage students in their learning using tools such as Moodle Choice, Moodle Feedback, Google Web Forms, Poll Everywhere, or Kahoot.
Using these tools requires students to have a laptop, tablet or mobile phone and reliable WiFi. Therefore, prior to implementing any of the tools, it’s best to ensure that all learners have access to the necessary technology.
Group work presents new challenges in a socially-distanced classroom, however there are possibilities.
Students can still engage in independent active problem-solving in a socially distanced classroom. Worksheets can be posted to Moodle or problems displayed in lecture presentations and students can work at their seats. Instructors can also to create live polls with PollEverywhere to check whether students came up with the correct answers.
In order for students to provide feedback on assignments in class such as through peer review of papers, students can use Google Docs for peer review. Google Docs provides the ability for a peer reviewer to add comments, suggest edits in real time, and even assign tasks to the author or other peer reviewers. Peer review with Google Docs can be performed during a class session as well as outside of class. Students may also hold a video call with their partner after class using Zoom or Google Meet.
A second approach is to emphasize active learning online and to devote face-to-face or live, synchronous class time to presenting new material and clarifying concepts. Viewing microlectures, engaging in readings through Moodle discussion forums or social annotation tools, completing problem-solving activities, and more may occur online within a reasonable class workload and the following done in class:
Here is a document shared through the Professional and Organizational Development Network in Higher Education with highlights from a trial run of using masks and face shields in the classroom while social distancing. They found that group discussion was still possible with some limitations.