Structured Platforms for Engagement
In order to integrate interactive technologies, such as videoconferecing with course and learning objectives, organizing platforms for engagement in and beyond the classroom experience are invaluable. These platforms encourage students to engage and put into practice the skills, knowledge and attitudes indicated by course and learning objectives during an interactive experience. Types of these platforms include:
- Single visit or series of visits within a class
- Visits with experts, politicians, activists, etc.
- Semester-long collaborative courses with one partner institution
- Student-led discussion(s) and presentations
- Study abroad (pre- and post-departure orientation, involvement in course discussions)
- International research (for faculty and students), including joint student assignments
The videoconference, with its complementing activities and assignments, should be set up to meet learning objectives. Instructors need to share these learning objectives with students and make it explicit that the videoconference is considered part of the general instruction such that students are responsible for participating and learning from the experience as they would from other aspects of the class. Thus, evaluating what is learned from the experience should be included in other forms of course-based assessments.
Types of Engagement
Activities and assignments that support learning and course objectives in an interactive technology setting include:
Prior to the videoconference experience
- Prepared reading material(s)
- Prepared questions for a speaker or lecturer
- Ice breakers, i.e. have students prepare introductions, or plan an activity to acclimate students to what might be a new learning environment
During the videoconference experience
- Planned discussion and facilitated Q&A, facilitated by either the instructor(s) or student(s)
- Student-led activities and presentations
Post-interactive videoconference experience
- Reflection writing assignments
- Use the experience to discuss intercultural issues that may arise in the planning phase, during the experience, and during assignments.