In every tutorial group, there will be those who are happy to say their piece... and others who are decidedly less vocal.
Dr Kate McClune, Research Fellow in Old and Middle English at Merton College, wanted to see how an online chatroom on the VLE (WebLearn) could help stimulate discussion and participation in her tutorials. She posted pre- and post-tutorial activities to prime her students for face-to-face debate, and provide a space to continue discussions after the formal scheduled session was over. She moderated the online discussions, and followed up on unresolved matters, as well as posting additional resources for self-directed learning.
The result? There's been a marked improvement in and broadening of debate, both online and off, says Dr McClune.
I found students are more willing to engage - and disagree - online than in traditional tutorials. I used the online chat room to provide activities before and after tutorials, giving students a mixed blend of face-to-face and online support.
– Dr Kate McClune, Research Fellow in Old and Middle English at Merton College