Collaborative & Individual Learning Via Zoom

Problem: Students often limit the definition of a construct (e.g., vocational identity) by a measure (e.g., My Vocational Situation), and by doing so, have a very myopic view of the construct.

Goal: To have students learn how to expand upon a construct beyond what one instrument’s definition.

Challenge: Create an activity that requires active involvement from every student, engage higher order/critical thinking, AND, do it all in 10 minutes.

My solution: I chose a construct from an article that we are reviewing in class, and pasted the components of the operational definition of that construct on one side of the table. Then I told them to use whichever research-based database they preferred, and to find another article that offered a different definition, and to paste that into the table using the annotate function in Zoom. Below is a picture of the activity as they were working.

Next steps: When they were done, I asked them to point out differences between the article’s definition and these others, and we discussed being too narrow and too wide in our definitions. The next thing I had them do was work on defining their own construct on a shared document. I chose a shared document because some of them have similar topics/constructs, and I wanted to teach them that it’s OK to collaborate and help peers/colleagues problem solve. This meant that before class, I had to create the shared document, and paste their names, research questions and a table for them to work on in the document.

They had to choose one construct from a study they’ve been working on conceptualizing, and find at least 2 different definitions of the construct, and also list at least 2 different instruments they’ve seen in their searching of the literature that might measure the construct or a portion of the construct. Here’s a picture of 2 students’ work:

I gave them about 15 minutes to work on that. For their final activity, I had them then take 2 of the measure they had listed and conduct an instrument comparison. This took about 20-25 minutes. Here’s an example of one student’s work:

Reflection: Overall, I thought this process worked well. I demonstrated the technique using a shared article, challenging them to find alternative definitions. They then applied this skill to their own work. I shared my screen but told them they didn’t have to follow me. I worked with them, if someone was stuck, finding a definition or an instrument or details (like cost), and asked them to help each other. I did have some other modeling prepared, but didn’t think we’d have enough time to work through that and for them to work on their own stuff, and that the latter was likely more useful for them. I did achieve the goal of a ten minute activity with the annotation, but altogether these three activities took up an hour of class time, so there’s that to consider.

Question: How might you have approached this problem and goal?

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