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Incorporate quick active learning activities in your synchronous session

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These are examples of different types of activities that can be easily implemented in a synchronous session to increase student engagement.

To use these activities, download the Powerpoint template below: OnlineActiveLearningActivities_examples.pptx. This template has all of the activities incorporated and how to use them. Feel free to customise and add your own content, then share with your students in your online session!


1. Intro "Tag"

This activity will allow each student to introduce themselves after they have been “tagged” by the previous student.

How to use: This involves the instructor preparing a list of the students on a slide, then when in session, the instructor first “tag’s” a student to give an introduction of themselves, then that student uses the annotation tools to tag another student to continue.


2. Heads Up!

This activity allows students to collaboratively describe a keyword to two students who must guess what the keyword is.

How to use: The instructor sends two people to a breakout room and those in the main room are given a keyword that the class has learned together. Once the two participants have returned to the main room, the main room participants must describe the word without using that specific word, and the two breakout room participants have to guess the keyword.

Note: This uses a Breakout Group

3. Matching

This activity has students collaboratively matching keywords to their definitions.

How to use: On the screen there are two columns: the first column is a list of keywords or phrases, the second column has definitions to those items, but are shuffled. Students use the annotation tools to draw a line to match the keyword to its definition.


4. Graffiti Wall

This activity has students collaboratively sharing their answers on a shared whiteboard to generate a discussion.

How to use: The instructor asks a question and using the annotation text tool, students write their answer on a shared whiteboard. The answers are then discussed.


5. What's Missing?

This activity has students collaboratively filling in purposefully omitted information.

How to use: The instructor shows students a list, diagram, picture, or series of steps related to the course content, but omits a piece of information. Students then have to guess “What’s Missing?” from the list or image and fill in the blank using text annotation, chat tools, or their microphone.


6. "Ah-ha!" moment

After completing a pre-lecture activity, this activity has students collaboratively sharing their insights and discoveries on a shared whiteboard to generate a discussion.

How to use: Before class, the students are to watch a video, read an article or listen to audio (eg. podcast). Students are encouraged to keep note of "Ah-ha" moments. During the webinar, the instructor shares a whiteboard so that students can each write their Ah-ha moments to share and discuss with the class.


7. Schedule a 3-minute movement break

This webpage is a series of videos developed to cover areas like stretching, mindfulness, and aerobics/dance. You may play the videos on the site, click on the link below the videos to open in YouTube or copy the url or embed code to use in your own course or website. Under each video is the suggested use case; for example the type of movement break (stretching) and the room type (lecture hall).

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