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Facilitating small group work

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Online spaces, whether synchronous or asynchronous, can provide an effective environment for small group work.  There are multiple possible configurations for students to work together even in online space, including (but not limited to):

  • Pair-and-share or small group collaboration involving collaborative analysis
  • Pair-and-share or small group collaborative writing or revision tasks
  • Pair-and-share or small group collaborative search activities
  • Peer feedback sessions for written drafts
  • Peer feedback sessions for presentation drafts

Peer Feedback Sessions

When designing peer feedback sessions for your students, you'll need to consider first whether you plan to have them work in real time together (as you might in a face to face classroom setting) or if you are designing something to take place ...

Synchronous Recommended Tool: Google Docs & Zoom

Asynchronous Recommended Tool: Canvas Peer Review or Google Docs

Pedagogical Recommendations

  • Write out clear and specific instructions about the expectations for peer review. This means specifying the qualities of writing that students may want to look for in each other’s work. Distributing guiding questions or a worksheet that students can fill out as they review their peer’s work can be a valuable supplement to guide students’ virtual reading. 

  • If you are introducing peer review synchronously (via Zoom or another teleconferencing platform) and having students work in real time in Google Docs, consider: 

    • Engaging the students in a chat-based or video-based conversation about their expectations for peer review

    • Have students use the chat box feature to share ideas about what makes for effective peer review

    • Use a polling tool, like PollEverywhere or Google Forms, to collect ideas about students’ impressions of and expectations for peer review

  • If you are introducing peer review asynchronously, consier: 

    • Opening up a discussion forum with a prompt that invites students to share their past experiences with peer review. What worked? What didn’t? What are their goals this time? Aggregate student responses to create a document that outlines the class expectations and understandings of effective peer review experiences. 

    • Ask students to include questions for their peer reviewers at the top of their document so that their reviewers can have a sense of what the author would like them to focus on.

  • Include links to technical documentation and support so that students can troubleshoot if they are not able to access peers’ documents.