Collaboration & Engagement

Engaging students in the learning process increases their attention, motivates higher-level critical thinking skills, and promotes meaningful learning experiences. By adopting a student-centered approach to instruction through increased student engagement, students participate more fully in the class through active learning, rather than playing a passive role in learning. Although technology is not necessary for engagement, UConn provides a variety of technology tools that can be utilized to increase collaboration and engagement.

The tools and techniques an instructor might pick can vary based on the course modality and the desired engagement:

    Asynchronous engagement and collaboration

    Although the asynchronous environment limits the ability for live engagement and collaboration, it does open up the use of a wide variety of technology to create other opportunities for engagement and collaboration.

    Along with the use of HuskyCT tools, such as discussion boards, asynchronous experiences can be enhanced with FlipGrid**, a tool that allows students to provide video responses to prompts. FlipGrid** is available as a free online or app-based tool.

    Student collaboration is also possible through the use of HuskyCT groups, Google docs/drive*, file sharing and editing in Microsoft Teams or Microsoft OneDrive.*

    Instructors may also add quizzing to Kaltura videos to engage students with the content. Questions can be multiple-choice, short answer  (not graded), and reflection points.

    In-person engagement and collaboration

    For the in-person setting, any of the options mentioned for asynchronous engagement and collaboration are also useful additions to an in-person course. In addition to those, polling (also referred to as a student response system) offers an opportunity for instructors to engage students using technology during class sessions and to gather information on student understanding of content. Tools such as iClicker, Poll Everywhere**, and Slido** offer faculty easy ways to poll students.

    Virtual synchronous engagement and collaboration

    For a virtual setting with synchronous experiences, any of the options mentioned for asynchronous engagement and collaboration are also useful additions to a virtual synchronous course. Similar to the in-person setting, polling is a helpful option for virtual synchronous sessions. Instructors can use iClicker, Poll Everywhere**, and Slido** for easy virtual polling. To use iClicker for virtual sessions, instructors and students will need to use the iClicker Cloud (or REEF) version, rather than the physical iClicker device. Beyond these options, video conferencing systems, such as WebEx and Collaborate, also have polling features built-in.

    Another option is to use the chat feature built into the video conferencing system (WebEx, Collaborate, or Microsoft Teams), particularly if the class is small enough to allow for all students to participate. The Reactions feature (such as thumbs up and thumbs down) in the video conferencing platforms also provides a way to engage students or get feedback from students.

    Instructors can also use breakout rooms in the video conferencing systems (WebEx, Collaborate, and Microsoft Teams) to create opportunities for students to collaborate and be engaged. While in breakout rooms, instructors may consider having students utilize Google* docs or other tools to work on a collaborative document together.


    *denotes tools supported by ITS, rather than EdTech

    **denotes tools not supported by UConn