Currently (July 2020) Mines is planning for an in-person fall semester with a mix of course modalities. Some courses, especially those that incorporate hard-to-access laboratory equipment and in-person experiential learning, will remain on campus, but follow physical distancing guidelines. Many courses will follow a hybrid or blended model, replacing non-essential in-person time with remote learning using web-based resources (e.g. Canvas). Some courses be transitioned to entirely online for the fall and perhaps spring semesters.
In Spring 2020, all active Mines instructors got a taste of how to teach using online web-based tools as they were asked to do ‘emergency remote teaching’. But the fall will bring a new challenge with figuring out hybrid/blended learning, featuring some synchronous physically distanced class sessions with a mix of in-person and online students and some asynchronous online interactions. An emergent question is – How can active learning and other interactive techniques be incorporated into physically distanced hybrid/blended courses?
Fall 2020 Mines Course Modality Options:
Remote courses: Offered synchronously, meaning students will meet with Mines faculty (via Zoom) on the same days and times as they would if the courses were being held on campus. Students will be expected to participate remotely in accordance with that schedule.
Online courses: Offered asynchronously, meaning that students can participate in instruction on their own schedules, whenever it is most convenient to them and no in-person contact is necessary.
In-person courses: Face-to-Face (F2F) or Mask-to-Mask (M2M) offered on campus in traditional classroom and laboratory settings, with masks, social distancing and other safety procedures in place to protect the health of students and faculty. All in-person lectures will be recorded to provide flexibility and allow students to keep up with their classes should they be required to self-quarantine or isolate.
Hybrid/Blended courses: offered as a combination of in-person and remote instruction, often with lectures offered remotely and labs in-person.
Physically Distanced: For any on-campus in-person meetings, students and instructors will be wearing masks and potentially other PPE. Classroom spaces will be modified to provide recommended spacing between individuals and room occupancy will be reduced.
Note: For hybrid and physically distanced courses, some students may also be joining remotely during synchronous in-person sessions.
Teaching and learning in physically distanced courses will be challenging! Both instructors and students will need to stretch their thinking and be agile learners in the fall. We recommend having conversations as often as needed with students about how they are coping with the new learning style and if they feel connected with you as an instructor and their classmates as colleagues. For more ideas & strategies for developing learning communities in your class, please visit the Strategies to Develop Supportive Classroom Culture resource. The following table is a compilation of active learning strategies and suggestions for how they might be translated to physically distanced, hybrid, or blended courses and remote or online courses.
Table: Active Learning Strategies for Multiple Modalities
Activity & Implementation
Remote or Hybrid Synchronous
Physically Distanced Class
|Think-Pair-Share||Ask students a question that requires higher order thinking (e.g., application, analysis, or evaluation levels). Ask students to think or write about an answer for one minute, then turn to a peer to discuss their responses for two minutes. Ask groups to share responses and follow up with instructor explanation if needed.||Pose a question to students. Tell students what they have to do and how long they have to work in small groups. Put students in breakout meeting rooms in online video conferencing platforms for small group discussions. Ask groups to report out after the small group discussion.||Pose a question to the students, either in video or text. Create groups and ask the students to respond to the question in a small group discussion forum (e.g., a discussion in Canvas). The group reports can be shared to the larger class discussion forum.||Set up small groups of 3–5 students. Pose a question. Ask students to discuss the question in their small groups. To facilitate communication, consider using a Zoom rooms or Google documents. Alternatively, consider 1) sending pairs out of class for easier socially distanced discussion elsewhere on campus with set return time, 2) incorporating discussion outside of class time with groups reporting on their discussion during class or outside of class. When groups report on their discussion during class, encourage students to practice projecting voices so all classmates hear.
Hybrid Pair-Share. Ask the in-person students to pair up with virtual students for a quick Zoom or FaceTime call. In-person students will need to use earbuds to minimize feedback issues.
|Turn and Talk||Similar to Think-Pair-Share (above), students discuss ideas/response to a prompt with a neighboring student||Use the chat feature in Zoom. Ask a question and let the students reply with a brief response. Read them (or several) out loud to the whole class. Could also use meeting rooms and ask one student from each room to share.||Assign partners and pose a question, asking them to share their ideas via a chat feature, discussion thread, or another online tool that facilitates discussion.||Assign partners in the classroom that can talk 6 ft apart. Alternatively, when distance would make the volume in the room difficult for some students to learn, students can "talk" through texts or through a shared Google document or Google slide show.|
|Small Group Discussions||When a question or case is posed, students discuss in groups of 3–4 for 5+ minutes. It is important that the question or case is difficult enough that group members need to spend considering what they know (from readings, experience, or data) and multiple options could be considered before coming to a conclusion. If there is not enough to discuss, and students are able to come to a conclusion quickly, the discussion will become flat quickly.||Use breakout meeting rooms in online video conferencing platforms to simulate small group discussions. Students may also use collaborative document tools (e.g., Google docs) to record thoughts.||Pose an equivalent question to the asynchronous students, either in video or text, and ask the students to respond in a small group discussion forum (e.g., discussions on Canvas). The group reports can be shared to the larger class discussion forum. ||Pose a question. Ask students to discuss the question in their small groups. To facilitate communication, consider using a Zoom rooms or Google documents. Alternatively, consider 1) sending groups out of class for easier socially distanced discussion elsewhere on campus with set return time, 2) incorporating discussion outside of class time with groups reporting on their discussion during class or outside of class. Students can record notes from their discussion on a Google document or a handheld white board, or students can give an oral report of the discussion. When groups report on their discussion during class, encourage students to practice projecting voices so all classmates hear.|
|Backchannel discussions||Live text chats for students to discuss ideas and ask questions that occur simultaneous with a live course.||Platforms include: Zoom chat, Slack, Discord, GroupMe, or Microsoft Teams.||Similar to discussions (above), but less formal spaces for students to discuss course topics, e.g. a general Q&A board or topical themed chats that are not graded.||Backchannel discussions can be a great way for students to collaborate in class while physically distanced. Advantages of setting up ‘official’ spaces for these conversations is to be able to monitor them instead of having them pop up organically in student groups with private cellphone chats.
Backchannel discussions are also a great way to include remote students in physically distanced teams.
|Idea capture||Idea generation and free-thinking in response to a prompt||Use the chat feature or collaborative writing spaces such as Google docs to capture ideas and review together in class||Use collaborative writing spaces such as Google Slides, or Google Docs to capture ideas and review in follow-up video/post or activity||Use collaborative writing spaces to capture ideas and share in real-time. This can be done with some features in Canvas, online polling, or Google Docs.|
|Partial Outline||Instructor provides students with a partial outline for lecture or videos or readings that help students know what is most important and to be looking for information in the content-delivery.||Create a set of class notes with blanks for important information and share on the LMS. Encourage students to fill in the blanks during the class session.||Create a set of class notes with blanks for important information and share using Canvas. When viewing the course materials, students complete and annotate the notes. This can be turned into a collaborative document as well (see below).||Create a set of class notes with blanks for important information and make it available in Canvas. Alternately, encourage students to fill in the blanks during the class session in a collaborative note-taking document (e.g. Google Doc, see below).|
|Collaborative Notetaking||Whole-class views and contributes to note documentation.||Set up a Google Doc linked to Canvas for students to use during synchronous live lecture to take notes on the class discussion.||Set up topical Google Docs for students to take notes or share problem-solving techniques. This is similar to backchannel discussions.||Set up a Google Doc for both in-person and remotely joining students to take notes. Can be split into working groups (one document per each group).|
|Pausing in lecture||Intentional pauses to check for understanding and switch things up. We recommend breaks in lecture (or other content delivery) every 7 minutes.||Break up your synchronous presentation by stopping for a quick activity, such as responding to a question in chat, completing a sentence, or completing another task like polling, etc.||In your recorded videos, insert points for students to pause and reflect on what was just said, complete an activity such as answer some quick questions using a quiz function.||Pause during your lecture to ask a question, give a poll, or ask students to identify the three things they have learned so far in the class.|
|Posters & gallery walk||Students view multiple prompts or products (getting up and moving to each item around a room) and interact with them by taking notes, adding stickies, or voting.||Use shared spaces for small groups to record ideas using collaborative tools such as Google documents or slides, and then view those with the whole class.||Use shared spaces for small groups to record ideas using collaborative tools such as Padlet and Google docs/slides/draw, and ask students to review these ideas as part of the module’s activities.||If regulations allow, put poster boards around the room. Dismiss one group of students to go a single poster board and record a response. When they finish and return to their seats, dismiss a second group. Continue until the entire class has been able to record responses. Read/ review the posters with the class or save and use to start the following class period. This activity encourages movement, individual response, and can serve as an assessment of students opinions or understanding (depending on the questions). You may need to think about options for students that are not moving around the room or are joining remotely. One option is to consider using virtual poster boards.|
|Fishbowl||A student or group of students solving a problem, role playing, or having a discussion is watched by the rest of the class who take notes and provide feedback.||Students can take turns role playing/miming a solution and others can watch and respond in chat or live discussion.||Students can record themselves with role play/miming a solution and others can respond in a discussion forum.||Students can take turns role playing or miming a solution for others to critique, watch, etc.
Students in fishbowl can be remote (participating in a chat, Google doc, or Zoom conversation as a small group), while in-person students are outside the fishbowl listening, and then professor leads whole class discussion among listeners afterwards.
Monitor and Assess Understanding
|Quickwrite or 1-minute paper||Ask students a question that requires them to reflect on their learning or to engage in critical thinking. Have them write for one minute. Ask students to share responses to stimulate discussion.||Pose a question or two in a discussion forum and have students respond. Instructors may ask for some students to share a selection of responses or summary of their responses with the whole class.||Use discussion board in Canvas with video/audio option. Submit as an assignment in Canvas with peer review option.||Pose a question or two and have students write a response. Students can turn these in at the end of class. Instructors may ask for some students to share a selection of responses or summary of their responses with the whole class.|
|Muddiest point||Encourages students to identify any unclear or “muddy points”.||Muddiest points can be added in the Zoom chat or on a shared screen or in a shared note-taking document.||Pose a question in a discussion forum or other shared space or submit a video chat (one tool that could work is Flipgrid).||Have students use post-it notes to share their muddiest point and instructor can discuss with the class
Students can also share their muddiest point using an online poll or anonymous Google doc
|Small group problem-solving||Groups of 2–10 students collaboratively work on problems/projects|
Tech note: Can be enhanced and captured online with annotation tools (Hypothesis, Prusall, NowComment, VoiceThread, ReClipped) and virtual whiteboards (Mural, Miro, Padlet)
|Split students into groups to solve problem(s). Have problems in Google slides/docs, one slide/page for each working group. Student groups assigned to breakout rooms can work in the slides while you monitor progress and communicate with individual rooms or whole class (using broadcast announcements).||Assign working groups to problem sets in Canvas. Students can collaborate with Google docs or via setting up Zoom conference with each other. Students can submit group work in Canvas.||Split students into groups (in-person can be mixed with remote) to solve problems. Have problems in Google slides/doc, one slide/page for each working group. Students can talk to each other via distancing and back-channel programs (Slack, Teams, etc.)|
|Four corners||A quick and easy snapshot of student understanding, Four Corners provides an opportunity for student movement while permitting the instructor to monitor and assess understanding. The instructor poses a question or makes a statement. Students then move to the appropriate corner of the classroom to indicate their response to the prompt. For example, the corner choices might include “I strongly agree,” “I strongly disagree,” “I agree somewhat,” and “I’m not sure.”||Students have 4 colored cards. These are held up to the webcam when asked a question to display their answer. A Zoom poll could also be used. |
Alternate: Assign breakout rooms, move students to their appropriate room to discuss their response with peers, and then ask someone to report out for the group.
|Have students vote using an online poll or Canvas survey with results shared in the following week or module.||Students have 4 colored cards (or raise hands or stand up/vertical movement to indicate agreement). These are held up when asked a question to display their answer.
Consider doing this online in a collaborative document. Can use online polling technology.
|1 Minute Quiz||Students complete a brief low-stakes quiz||Answers can be emailed, submitted as a Canvas quiz, polled or posted on an adaptive release discussion board post||Offer short low-stakes comprehension quizzes after Canvas videos/readings.||Answers can be submitted on half-sheets of paper, emailed, submitted as a Canvas quiz, polled or posted on a discussion board.|
|What’s missing?||Students identify a missing component in a problem or presented idea.||Share slides on Zoom to present a list of ideas, terms, equation or rationale. Students can respond with what is missing using chat, poll or live discussion.||Using slides, present a list of ideas, terms, equation or rationale. Students must respond in a Canvas or Teams discussion forum with what is missing. Can also be done using a Canvas quiz or survey.||Using slides, present a list of ideas, terms, equation or rationale. Students must respond with what is missing, using post-its on a board, a hand-held dry-erase board, or polling software.|
|Pro/con list||Students create a pro/con list to evaluate an idea, strategy, or process.||Together create a pro/con list using a collaborative google document in real time or on a shared screen||Together create a pro/con list using a collaborative Google document.||Generate a pro/con list using collaborative documents, such as Google document.|
|Concept map||Concept maps are visual representations of the relationships between concepts. Concepts are placed in nodes (often, circles), and the relationships between indicated by labeled arrows connecting the concepts. To have students create a concept map, identify the key concepts to be mapped in small groups or as a whole class. Ask students to determine the general relationship between the concepts and to arrange them two at a time, drawing arrows between related concepts and labeling with a short phrase to describe the relationship.||Use an online tool (such as Mindmeister, or Miro) to have students work collaboratively in real-time to add to the concept map. Google Draw may be a tool that would be useful.||Use an online tool to have students work collaboratively to add to the concept map over the course of a module. Google Draw may be a tool that would be useful.||Students can still paper draw concept maps in class if physically present.
Alternate:Use an online tool (such as Mindmeister or Miro), to have students work collaboratively in real-time to add to the concept map.
|Visual prompt||Students respond to a picture, figure, diagram, etc.||Offer a visual prompt and ask students to respond either in writing or using an audio-recording tool like Voicethread or Annotate||Offer a visual prompt and ask students to respond either in writing or using an audio-recording tool like Voicethread or Annotate||Offer a visual prompt and ask students to respond using polling technology.|
|Entry/Exit Tickets||Students respond in writing to a prompt (e.g., What is your prior experience with X? What was your key takeaway from today?)||At the beginning or end of a class/ module, ask students to respond to a question in the chat, discussion forum, or use a polling program to ask questions (Zoom or another polling software).||At the beginning or end of a class/ module, ask students to respond to a question in the chat or discussion forum (for full-class sharing) or put the prompt in a Canvas quiz.||At the beginning or end of a class/ module, ask students to respond to a prompt via sticky notes placed on a board following social distancing guidelines, slips of paper collected by the instructor as students file through the room, or written on personal dry-erase boards. Alternatively, you could use a polling program to ask students questions.|
Feedback and Community Building
|Peer review|| Students provide evaluation of and feedback on other student work. ||Have students share drafts prior to class and then break into groups for discussion/feedback. Have select students share with the class in real time and provide a way for students to give feedback (e.g., answer three questions, etc.)||Students post drafts in Canvas, or read it aloud via Flipgrid. Guided by course rubric/specific prompts for feedback, partner(s) read/view and respond. Consider small-group peer review. (See “Small Group Discussions” above.) Peer reviewers also score writers draft preparedness, and writers score reviewers for helpfulness of feedback.||See “Think-Pair-Share” ideas above.|
|Class Progress Chart||Collective map of the class, including what has been accomplished and where the class is going next.||Chart steps in larger project (essay writing, research project, etc.) in Google doc, and each student fills out row as progresses. Prof gives feedback by adding comments to document.|
Active Learning while Physical Distancing. Louisiana State University. Google document accessed July 8, 2020: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15ZtTu2pmQRU_eC3gMccVhVwDR57PDs4uxlMB7Bs1os8/edit?fbclid=IwAR19kBPLsLngkQx689XRPxUfTleuzkQ2Jve-TXUwFGwUw2JOkzEwu7SU9iQ
Bruff, Derek. Multiple-Choice Questions You Wouldn’t Put on a Test: Promoting Deep Learning Using Clickers. Vanderbilt University Essays on Teaching Excellence: Toward the Best in the Academy. Volume 21, Number 3, 2009–10. Accessed online July 8, 2020. https://podnetwork.org/content/uploads/V21-N3-Bruff.pdf
Bruff, Derek. Classroom Response Systems (blog). Accessed online July 8, 2020. https://derekbruff.org/?cat=122
Active Learning in Hybrid and Socially Distanced Classrooms. Accessed online July 8, 2020. https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2020/06/active-learning-in-hybrid-and-socially-distanced-classrooms/
POD network Google group. Accessed July 8, 2020. https://groups.google.com/a/podnetwork.org/forum/#!msg/discussion/gr3bTKBCycs/324tioyLCwAJ