Michael Freedman

Structures to Improve Engagement

Discussion created by Michael Freedman on Oct 5, 2018

I've been noodling ways to play with structure to improve engagement and learning. So I thought I'd start a discussion with the goal of creating a catalog of course structures. What I have in mind when I say structures includes the choice, arrangement, and sequencing of course activities; schedules; and teacher interventions.  Please jump in and offer ideas and improvements.

 

Weekly Sync model

Here's one model we're using. this is a weekly cycle, with one sync meeting per week:

1) Mon-Thur. students do self-directed study and engage in 2-3 scheduled online discussions,

2) Thur. – Sat Synchronous meeting (teacher works with the class to select the specific meeting day/time), and

3) Fri – Sun Group project/experience.

 

Time-bounded Discussions

Another area of interest is increasing participation and improving the quality of asynchronous discussions. We were considering have fixed times for discussions. for example, students are told that discussion prompts will be posted at a certain time, when they are encouraged to be online and participate, with the discussion closed four hours later.

 

Topical Forums

This is a four-week cycle to use group process to generate better outcomes.

1) Post topic and problems. Post background information on the topic, including curated diverse opinions. Students review this material and post their proposals/solutions at the end of the week.

2) Students join groups based on their support of / interest in the particular solution. The groups spend the week refining the proposal and submit this at the end of the week. A F2F or video meeting is used to finalize the proposal.

3) A dialog/debate process is used to hold discussions/ demonstrations/bake-offs to advocate for the solutions. At the end of the week, all students vote on their choice of solution. A large F2F or video meeting(s) can be used for the dialog/debate.

4) The "winners" incorporate comments suggestions from week 3 and submit their final work.  

Outcomes