Sharing Wall

Design Pattern: Sharing Wall

Use a shared social space to gather and comment on resources to help coalesce large diverse groups

Padlet wall with images and reflective comments about learning in different contexts

Name: Sharing Wall

Supporting media-rich peer collaboration.


Meaningful dialogue and interaction are important parts of learning together but how can we structure and support peer communication and collaboration among large, diverse groups.



The large and diverse student groups engaging with MOOC platforms (whether in Moodle, FutureLearn or Coursera) make it meaningful discussion difficult, because individuals may not get a response to their post. Additionally, within MOOCs for Continuing Professional Development, learners may have limited time to engage in the MOOC, which may mean that they miss the social and pedagogical benefits of learning with others. In these circumstances, there is a need for a mechanism which will support the sharing of ideas and lead to meaningful discussion. It is important for students to gain an immediate snapshot of the activity of their peer community which will stimulate their further practice, investigation and discussion. 


Start the activity with an individual task to post to an image (possibly accompanied by a short commentary) to shared space such as a wiki. It is important that the wiki or similar collaboration tool is easily accessible from within the MOOC platform (ideally it will not require additional log in) and will support the easy embedding of digital media (e.g. images, weblinks and videos). Then create a group task to identify another student's image from the wiki and begin a discussion thread based on it. Then structure the discussion by asking students to reply to another's initial posting by asking questions, providing a further example or contributing their own perspective on how the answer relates to the course content. This activity will encourage students to enage with others in a way that is easy and has immediate benefits. By encouraging students to create a resource together using digital media, the resulting collaborative product will be sufficiently stimulating to promote further learning.



An initial version of this activity was used in the BLOOC - a CPD MOOC in online learning aimed at Higher Education educators. Students were encouraged to practice their skills by uploading or linking to an image or video they used in their teaching on a Padlet wall accessible via a link from within Moodle. This enabled students to model their learning for each other and build a community. It received many favourable comments, and prompted discussion in the forums.

A link to a Padlet wall was created within the ULIA ICT in Primary Education Coursera MOOC. This was not directly linked to a discussion activity. The activity resulted in a number of media rich, co-constructed resources which were highly valued by the student group, and helped to build the professional community of educators enrolled on the MOOC.

The full activity (including the two staged collaboration-then-discussion) was implemented in the ULIA What Future for Education? Coursera MOOC. This resulted in a wealth of meaningful exchanges in the discussion forum, and media-rich co-constructed resources. Students accompanied many of their images with reflective posts, and so the collaboration itself became an easy access route to the discussion and reflection activities which were at the heart of the MOOC's learning design. 

Data and References

Refs to pedagogy of discussion and collaborative learning e.g. Laurillard, 2012; 

Author(s): Yishay Mor, Steven Warburton
Published at: 05 Feb 2015 14:50 GMT
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