Ryan Parsons

Working in Groups

Image of Ryan ParsonsOne practice I’ve found helpful is to create a Google Doc outline of each lecture and structure it as a "worksheet" - i.e., I might include a list of terms to define in one section, then leave a blank space for a free-writing exercise after that, and include links to videos/external sources/quizzes as appropriate. I make a copy of this for each student, so that we both have access to and add in the new day's outline at the bottom of the document before class. This gives students a template for their note-taking, a place for them to complete in-class activities, and they are easy to follow along with if students have to make up a class by watching a recorded Zoom lecture. I usually keep a separate window open with these files in different tabs in case I need to check that a student is participating.

– Ryan Parsons, Sociology, Graduate Student

Other Ideas for Working in Groups

  • Breakout Rooms can be created in Zoom for group and pair work.
  • Announce yourself loudly. Not everyone notices when you join, which can be awkward if people are not discussing academic material. 
  • Encourage students to use the “call for help” button to call the Instructor to the Zoom Room. 
  • Encourage students to take notes in a Google Doc while in Breakout Rooms so that the Instructor can tell when students are almost done.
  • Language Courses may find it helpful to ask students to meet outside of class time to complete short weekly “partner conversation” assignments. This allows students more time to practice speaking the language, but also increases their engagement in the course overall.