Facilitating large diverse groups
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Look and Engage


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Look and Engage


Problem:  How to structure peer communication and collaboration to support the sharing of ideas to stimulate meaningful dialogue and interaction among large, diverse groups.


Context: While many MOOCs aim simply to provide individual learning experiences for large numbers of participants, others intend to create dialogic interaction that will foster critical reflection on the part of the learners. However, the large size and diverse student groups engaging with MOOC platforms make meaningful discussion difficult, since participants lack any shared experience or knowledge of each other, and the large number of posts mean some get no response. Additionally, within MOOCs for CPD, 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.


Solution: Start the activity with an individual task to post a digital artefact, for example, an image or video link (possibly accompanied by a short commentary) to online collaboration space. It is important that the online collaboration space 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 such as images, weblinks and videos (Padlet is a good example). Then create a group task to identify another student's image from the collaboration space 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 engage with others in a way that is simple but with immediate visible benefits. By encouraging students to create a resource together using digital media, the resulting collaborative product will be sufficiently stimulating to promote further learning.


Examples: An initial version of this activity was used in the BLOOC - narrative "Easy Co-construction".  This solution (including the two staged collaboration task followed by discussion) was implemented in the “What Future for Education?” MOOC (narrative "Scaffolding Interaction"). “H817 Open” similarly used visual artefacts as a response to readings (narrative “Sharing Views”).
Related pattern: “See Do Share” http://ilde.upf.edu/moocs/v/bvr


Forces: While some participants will devote a great deal of time to studying on a MOOC, others may dip in and out. It may be important nevertheless (for example, within professional development MOOCs) for participants to gain an immediate snapshot of the activity of their peer community in order to stimulate their future practice, investigation and discussion. Some participants prefer to work alone, but others benefit from taking part in a peer community. This may be crucial if the aim of the MOOC is to create a sustainable professional network or peer community.

Author(s): Paige Cuffe, Eileen Kennedy, Yishay Mor, tharindu, Steven Warburton
Published at: 03 Jun 2015 07:51 GMT
Original link (login required): https://ilde.upf.edu/moocs/pg/lds/view/2402/