Monday, March 18
1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Santa Monica 2

Stop, Collaborate, and Listen: Facilitating Community, Connection, and Communication in the Online Classroom

Workshop ID: 54058
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    Susie Gronseth
    University of Houston
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    Jingyuan Fu
    University of Houston

Abstract: Collaboration can be the “social glue” in online courses, building community among learners and linking course content and 21st century skills. It is a crucial element to facilitating meaningful and engaging learning experiences, but the physical distances that separate instructors and students make interpersonal connection and communication quite challenging. Collaborative technologies can help forge bridges across those gaps as they enable faculty to more fully carry out the social, managerial, pedagogical, and technical roles that are involved in facilitating learning online. Further, collaborative technologies connect learners together to jointly work toward common goals and objectives and create demonstrations of their learning. This workshop will equip participants to take their courses beyond “vanilla” by applying instructional strategies and activities using collaborative technologies for video creation, multimedia sharing, social media, mobile instant messaging, productivity, retrieval practice, video-based discussion, synchronous/webinar, interactive image, and graphic editing. Using hands-on exploration and team challenges with the tools (including Adobe Spark, Padlet, Twitter, GroupMe, Quizlet, Flipgrid, Thinglink, and Canva), the workshop will guide attendees to use collaborative technologies to facilitate community, connection, and communication among learners.


1. Participants will explain how collaborative technologies can facilitate meaningful online learning experiences. 2. Participants will identify appropriate collaborative technology applications for varying instructional strategies and activities. 3. Participants will create a brief Adobe Spark course intro video. 4. Participants will describe question starters and strategies for video-based discussion. 5. Participants will identify ways to empower students in course leadership through collaborative technologies. 6. Participants will describe how to facilitate productive communication among online students. 7. Participants will create an interactive Thinglink image. 8. Participants will contribute to a team Quizlet study set. 9. Participants will identify three action items for implementation of session content into their professional practices.

Topical Outline

I. Introduction to the session (30 min.) A. Session overview and objectives B. Roles of online facilitation C. Components of learner collaboration in online courses D. Connection between online facilitation and collaboration approaches II. “Ice, Ice, Baby” Challenge (45 min.) A. Guided hands-on exploration of Adobe Spark B. Team challenge creating sample course intro video C. Sharing via Padlet III. “If There’s a Problem, Yo, I’ll Solve It” Challenge (45 min.) A. Guided hands-on exploration of Canva B. Team challenge creating sample course banner C. Sharing via GroupMe IV. “Stop, Collaborate, and Listen” Challenge (60 min.) A. Hands-on exploration of Thinglink and Quizlet B. #Fliphunt Flipgrid team challenge C. Sharing via Twitter V. Wrap-up (30 min.) A. Review of session concepts, tools, and recommendations B. Participant reflections and action plans for implementation


Intended audience: This workshop is intended for educators, instructional designers, and program coordinators who teach or design online or blended courses. Prior experience in teaching online may be helpful but is not required. The workshop uses intermediate technology skills, building upon foundational technology skills in Web navigation, software/app installation, and use of microphone/webcam. Additionally, prior knowledge concerning the artist Vanilla Ice may be helpful in getting some of the embedded humor in this workshop, but it is not required. Proposed length: The proposed workshop is designed to span a half day (3.5 hours). Equipment: Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices, which may include laptops, tablets, and/or smartphones, as the hands-on exploration exercises can be completed using web-based or app versions.

Experience Level



Susie Gronseth, Ph.D. is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Learning, Design, and Technology program area in the College of Education at the University of Houston, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in learning technologies, educational multimedia, teaching strategies, and instructional design. She has over a decade of online teaching experience and specializes in strategies for teaching in online environments and was awarded the 2017 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Online Learning Network Award for her work in gamifying an online graduate instructional design course. She is also a 2017 recipient of the University of Houston College of Education Teaching Excellence Award. She currently serves as the co-chair for the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) SIG in SITE. Jingyuan Fu, M.A. is an Instructional Designer at the University of Houston in the Office of Educational Technology for the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. She supports faculty in online course design and facilitation through consultation, technical support, and training. She recently completed her Master’s degree with an emphasis in Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Houston. She is an advocate of learner-centered pedagogy and effective educational technology practices that can help engage students in knowledge-building and sharing through interactive online and face-to-face learning activities. She was recently a featured presenter in the UH “Emerging Trends” professional development series, sponsored by the Provost’s Office.


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