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Weekly Tip: Implementing Diverse Interactions

Students are more successful in classes that provide opportunities to actively work with their peers and the content. By incorporating a variety of interaction types, we can engage all learners.

Some advantages of implementing diverse interactions are:

  • Authenticity promoted
  • Shifted ownership of learning from instructor to student
  • Increased mastery of learning outcomes
  • Expanded assessment options (formal and informal)
  • More frequent feedback fostered from multiple sources

Types of Interactions

Students involved in interactions may be observing, collaborating, reflecting, analyzing, creating, or evaluating with content, peers, and or instructors. Student⟷instructor, student⟷peer, student⟷content interactions are two-directional and can be formal or informal.

Student⟷Instructor

One of the most common interaction types in higher education courses is instructor-to-student. However, this model can be periodically inverted and made reciprocal.

In many classrooms, most of the learning is generally teacher led, where the assessing and evaluating is done formally—not with but to students.

—Chan et al., 2014

Some examples of reciprocal interactions include:

  • Office hours
  • Online discussion forums or chats
  • Sharing individual, pair, or group findings
  • Feedback on assignments and assessments
  • Online announcements (LMS or email)
  • Small groups

Student⟷Peer

Collaborative learning promotes a positive attitude toward the subject matter, helps to develop students’ social interaction and communication skills, fosters appreciation for diversity, and encourages student responsibility for learning.

Courses are filled with students of varying needs, skills, and abilities. Students can be taught to “recruit feedback.” Students might be directed to “recruit the feedback of two or three other students” before submitting work for instructor feedback.

—Chan et al., 2014

Some examples include:

  • Group projects
  • Peer instruction and review
  • Discussions or debates
  • Collaborative brainstorming

Learn more about collaborative assignments and projects in our previous weekly tip.

Student⟷Content

The traditional model, such as lecture and textbook readings, focuses on content-to-student. Current research supports using a wider variety of content delivery methods, as well as allowing students to interact with the content, results in increased student success.

Some examples include:

  • Interactive tutorials
  • Audio and video recordings
  • Low to no stakes quizzes with automatic feedback
  • Inquiry-based web quests
  • Practice discipline skills in authentic environment

Interaction Examples

Implementing one simple activity or strategy provides students with multiple interaction opportunities. Below are a few examples and the interaction types they support.

Learn about more strategies in our Student Engagement Strategies Toolbox.

Concept Mapping

Student ⟷ PeerStudent ⟷ ContentStudent ⟷ Instructor

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Learn more: Concept Mapping (pdf)

Defining Features Matrix

Student ⟷ PeerStudent ⟷ ContentStudent ⟷ Instructor

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Learn more: Defining Features Matrix (pdf)

Jigsaw

Student ⟷ PeerStudent ⟷ ContentStudent ⟷ Instructor

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Learn more: Jigsaw (pdf)

Student-Generated Test Questions

Student ⟷ PeerStudent ⟷ ContentStudent ⟷ Instructor

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Learn more: Student-Generated Test Questions (pdf)

Think-Pair-Share

Student ⟷ PeerStudent ⟷ ContentStudent ⟷ Instructor

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Learn more: Think-Pair-Share (pdf)

Resources/References

This series of videos and teaching tips is presented by Academic Outreach and Innovation (AOI). We invite you to join the conversation. Share your tips and ask questions through this blog. If you would like these posts to be sent directly to your email each week, subscribe to the listserv by emailing aoi.li@wsu.edu.

For more information or to schedule time with an instructional designer or emerging technologist, contact aoi.li@wsu.edu or request training on demand. You can also visit the Spark Faculty Innovation Studio in room 102 any time from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, during the academic year.