I hosted the second of the OU sector drop in sessions on Wednesday. The focus was on student support. You can see a recording of the session below, but here are some thoughts:
Icebreaker activities – sometimes those activities that work well face to face can be intrusive or less welcome online. Nigel Gibson told how he doesn’t use the “here are two truths and one falsehood about me, guess which is the lie” icebreaker. This can make people reveal things about themselves online they are not comfortable with.
Recreating social interaction – there is research that suggests students who form social bonds with others are more likely to continue with their studies. At a distance this social interaction happens less spontaneously than on a physical campus. Like so much of distance ed you have to explicitly design it in, and not just assume it will happen because through architecture.
Motivation – staying motivated when you’re studying on your own, surrounded by much of your conventional setting can be difficult. We discussed ways of helping this, which can include providing early and regular feedback. Structuring courses around discrete and achievable tasks and goals provides some of the gaming psychology on progression and motivation.
Group work – we discussed ways of getting learners to work collaboratively, including very structured activities with specific roles and outputs, to ‘lighter’ methods. These can include use of wikis, shared docs, aggregated blogs, assessed forum contributions, etc.
Being human – when you’re in a room with people, you’re automatically (a bit) human. Online though,§ you can be just disembodied text, and it’s easy to forget this and just dive in with the academic stuff. So making an effort (particularly now) just to check in, ask how everyone is, share something, connect with learners.
Go easy – don’t make learners sit down for 7 hours a day zoom, don’t grind them on assignment submission dates, rethink what plagiarism means – this is not business as normal, so cut them and yourself some slack.
Next week’s session is Wednesday 8th April 3-4pm UK time at https://gognoer.clickmeeting.com/oucovid19help – the topic is AssessmentTime converter at worldtimebuddy.com
Here’s the video of last week’s session: