Improving Breakout Room Discussions in Online Teaching by Using Collaborative Documents (Faculty Focus)

"During a recent online class, a student posted in the chat, “We should use breakout groups in all courses.”  On the other hand, a faculty director bemoaned receiving student complaints when, for example, two students are left in breakout rooms for 20 minutes with a task that can be completed in 5-10 minutes.  These two comments speak to the promise and peril of breakout room discussions.  They have the potential to be meaningful experiences during the synchronous portion of the course.  They can also be perceived as a waste of time and fall flat. "—Source: Faculty Focus

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A little bit of collaboration can go a long way in online learning — it can deepen engagement and help build a sense of community despite physical distance. This article shows how to use collaborative documents like Google Docs in breakout groups.