4 Ideas to Get Students Collaborating Using Your LMS
Many people say that technology has replaced our desire for in-person contact. While this may or may not be true, you can use technology to create collaboration opportunities. Collaboration is always a goal for students. Teachers want them to share ideas, give each other feedback, and just interact with one another. Your LMS is an awesome asset to use for collaboration between not only teachers but also students.
Create Small Groups
Your LMS allows the teacher to create small groups. This is beneficial for giving out assignments by academic level, but it also can put students in groups that they might not otherwise choose. If students are reading leveled texts, teachers can create leveled groups using the LMS. Then students can be assigned work that matches their reading level, but all students could be practicing the same skill.
LMS small groups is also beneficial for group projects. The LMS can be a place where each group has to upload and share documents as well as a place for discussion and questions about the project. Students can post questions to the teacher and the group to receive clarification on requirements and keep everyone on task. The teacher can also create checkpoints that students must complete both as individuals and as a group. The members of the group will then be able to work at their own pace to complete the project.
Utilize Discussion Boards
There are so many days within the classroom that a teacher asks a question and receives blank stares or eye aversions in return. Using your LMS for discussion boards will help keep the conversation going and make sure everyone participates. A teacher can post a thought or question about a text being read in class. Every student must respond, and the teacher can keep track of who responds as well as what is being said. It also allows for extended thought processes. A critical thinking question can be asked, and students have some time to formulate a thoughtful response. Then students can also respond to each other’s posts. They might even be required to respond helpfully to a certain number of other posts.
Giving surveys is also a way for the class to collaborate using your LMS. The teacher can provide a simple question or two about how students feel. This is a great activity for pre-reading a text. If students are reading Romeo and Juliet, a teacher might ask how students feel about murdering someone for killing a friend, or if students believe in love at first sight. Once everyone has responded, the discussion ensues. It can be an in-class discussion or a discussion board post where students respond to why they feel that way. The best part of using discussion boards and surveys is that everyone participates. Students who would usually never speak in class out of embarrassment are now given a voice and an opinion. This will help them feel appreciated while bringing the class closer together.
Create an ePortfolio
Using a portfolio is a great way to monitor student progress. Creating an ePortfolio does the same thing, only digitally utilizing your LMS. Students can upload assignments for the teacher to grade and receive feedback. These files can also be with other students for proofreading or other feedback. This is a great tool for peer editing. After an assignment is graded, students can create folders where they upload work they are proud of. This can be work that is shared with each other to celebrate the wonderful things students are learning. This ePortfolio can also be shared with parents to show learning and mastery of skills. An ePortfolio also gives students ownership not only of their own work but also their own learning. It is so neat and empowering to sit down at parent-teacher conferences and to share a student’s work with that parent that the student chose themselves.
Live Study Sessions
When a test or quiz is coming up, your LMS is a natural place for students to gather, so use it for a study session. Teachers can upload a review assignment or game then be available on the discussion board to answer questions and provide help. Students will get a chance to practice skills before a major test. They will also feel helped because the teacher will be on hand to answer questions. Students can also answer each other’s questions. This is especially handy if students arrive late to the study session or after the teacher has left the discussion boards.
We can all agree that collaboration between students is important, and your LMS will just streamline the collaboration and communication process. Your LMS can even enhance certain aspects of collaboration, like student involvement, that are more challenging in person.
Do you have more ideas or favorite ways for using your LMS to increase student collaboration? Share with us on Twitter @Schoology