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Course Prototype Interactions

Communication is key to creating a successful community. It is important that students have opportunities to interact with not only the instructor but other students as well. How this communication happens can differ greatly depending on the format of the course. My course prototype involves both synchronous and asynchronous learning so the ways that this communication can happen will be different for each group.

Synchronous Classroom

Photo by Max Fischer on

I’ll admit, I find it much easier to communicate and engage students in a synchronous setting. There is something about person-person communication that just simplifies everything. Throughout my entire course, my plan is to engage students with a variety of different tasks. Not every lesson needs to have an online component when we are in the classroom, and not every lesson needs to have a full-on discussion. There is a balance that is needed depending on the content and activity we are doing. It is important to give students a variety of instructional activities such as reading, writing, listening, drawing/creating, presenting, discussing, and playing games. Some of these tasks would require technology in the classroom and others would not. The synchronous student-student and teacher-student communication will primarily be done orally as we are in the room together. However, there are still options for students to present some work and share in discussions virtually (via video recording, online discussions on the Google Classroom with Questions, applications such as Flip etc.).

  • Have a plan – Even in-person learning requires teachers to know when and how they will communicate with their students.
  • Establish a social presence – Cross suggests that a social presence is crucial for developing a sense of community. Even with in-person learning, students still need to feel safe, connected, and represented in the classroom in order to feel comfortable.
  • Create opportunities for sharing– Again, this is just as important in class as it is in a virtual setting. Students will get bored if all you do is talk at them and they don’t get a chance to speak.
  • Use collaborative learning techniques– Similar to opportunities for sharing, students LOVE working with a partner or group.
  • Include parents in community building– As I mentioned in the social presence, even if the learning is happening in person, parents should still be aware and able to engage in their child’s education at school.

Asynchronous Classroom

Photo by Julia M Cameron on

Since my course is offered in two formats, students also have the option to complete all the assignments and receive the instructions asynchronously. As these are both happening at the same time, it is a little different than other courses where the work is online and the instructor is available all day. There is less time for teacher-student interaction during the school day as I am teaching the synchronous students. However, families and students who chose this option are aware of this ahead of time and are likely selecting this option due to illness, travel, or another need for an alternate schedule. Students who are completing this course asynchronously will still have a variety of ways to engage in their learning and connect with their peers. The strategies mentioned above by Cross and JHU still apply. Some ways that we can foster connection between student-student and student-teacher with the asynchronous format of my course include:

  • Creating a plan for communication– When is the teacher available to meet virtually? When are students expected to complete tasks? When do students have the opportunity to connect with other students? When will there be 1-1 check-ins? How does a student reach out if they need help?
  • Establish a social presence- Just like in the classroom, activities outside of the course topic are completed to help students get to know each other and the teacher. Asynchronous students will also have the option to join meets with the other online students just to hangout, chat about school, and get to know each other.
  • Create opportunities for sharing– Students doing all of the work online will be able to communicate in the comments on the classroom, message each other directly, and share their work via platforms like Flip and on the classroom. They will also be able to complete some work and discussions as a group on Google Classroom.
  • Meet in real time – Virtual meets with the teacher will be pre-arranged at key points in the course for check-in and additional explanation/review of topics. Students will also be able to request 1-1 meets for additional help.
  • Include parents in community building– Parents would also have access to the Google Classroom as a viewer and can see what their child is learning.

All in all, there are many ways to encourage communication and interaction between students and instructors in both virtual and in-person settings. It is important that instructors consider these strategies and question how they can apply them to the type of course they are building.


2 thoughts on “Course Prototype Interactions

  1. Hey! I really enjoyed reading your blog on interaction in both asynchronous and synchronous classroom settings. I also believe that there should be a balance depending on the activities and topic being covered in the classroom, as there are times when technology is required to complete the learning and other times when only traditional methods would suffice. There should be a combination of activities and theoretical knowledge to make learning easier for students because they cannot completely rely on one method of learning.


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