This gets more at the collaborative elements of the program. Last semester I sat enthralled that my instructor was able to introduce just the right learning activity for the appropriate content and the combination lead to some earth shattering revelations for me. After each session, I sat there wondering - "why did she choose ...?" with the ... being round robins, mind mapping, role playing.
This semester, as I work my way through Barkley, Cross and Major's Collaborative Learning Techniques I find my self recognizing the activities they describe. This afternoon, while Skyping with the instructor on another matter, I asked her if she owned the book, she confessed she did. If I began this course with no prior exposure to the activities that CoLT introduces the readers too, I would have been the class skeptic, the whole thing striking me as to touchy feely. But you know what? It worked. Last semester my instructor led us in a scripted online synchronous class session. She let us know that she had prepared instructions for us to follow and then led us in a brainstorming session and a round robin before sending us off to our own break out chat sessions.
The experience was refreshing because it eliminated all the cross chatter that can go on in an synchronous session, the structure was perfect for making the participant feel valued and heard, and the final break out chats reinforced the lesson and provide the right about of reflection.
I am glad to have these activities in my preverbial toolbox, and glad to have seen them in practice.