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Active Learning Online

Engaging students actively during class time, whether face-to-face or online, synchronous or asynchronous, helps motivate and support them and provides them with practice and timely feedback in a community of learners. Numerous research studies attest to the effectiveness of active learning approaches in fostering student learning, persistence, and success.

During the shift to remote instruction in 2020 occasioned by COVID-19, the FDC hosted a series of programs to help faculty incorporate active learning into online instruction. Below we share the resources from those sessions. Please note that a UMBC login is required to access these resources.

The emphasis in these sessions was on the pedagogy of using groups for active learning online–how these approaches help you achieve your goals for student learning during remote instruction. Please see the recordings of training programs offered by instructional technology for specific help in using tools.

Research-Based Principles of Active Learning

  • Allows processing time
  • Provides feedback
  • Encourages learning from peers
  • Practices skills
  • Moves information to long-term memory

Active Learning Online

How do we keep students engaged in learning online? How do we help them process concepts and think deeply about ideas in the absence of the face-to-face classroom? Research shows that using active learning approaches helps students stay motivated, feel connected, and generate meaning–whether face-to-face or online. In our session in June, the FDC shared some general information about active learning strategies and provided examples from two faculty who use active learning online. Sarah Leupen (Biology) discussed why she uses group work online and how she manages groups in Blackboard Collaborate. Tim Phin (Ancient Studies) talked about the importance of discussion to his pedagogy and how he encourages discussion online using tools such as VoiceThread or the discussion board.

Resources

Using Group Work Online Part 1: Examples of Practice

How do we keep students engaged in learning online? How do we help students process concepts and think deeply about ideas in the absence of the face-to-face classroom? How can we create student-to-student connections that result in meaningful learning experiences? Research shows that using student groups can promote engagement and learning, helping students stay motivated, feel connected, and generate meaning. Whether you are experienced or a novice in using groups online, this discussion will provide some general information and best practices for group work and examples from two faculty who use groups online: Elisabeth Arevalo-Guerrero (MLLI) and Ivan Erill (Biological Sciences).

Resources

Bring Your Best Idea: Using Group Work Online Part 2

How do we use group work to help students process concepts, think deeply about ideas, and remain engaged in learning online? How do we create student-to-student connections that result in meaningful learning experiences? Research shows that using student groups can promote engagement and learning, helping students stay motivated, feel connected, and generate meaning. For this Bring Your Best Idea session, we (locally) crowdsourced answers to questions such as these. Participants left this session with new food for thought and several new ideas to try in their own courses.

Resources

Additional Resources

As you consider how to incorporate active learning into your courses, please consider the following additional resources:

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