Online Collaboration Tools

Brandon Respress in her officeHere is a short video describing this teaching strategy.

Brandon Respress, School of Nursing, instructs upperlevel undergraduates in the writing of grant proposals in preparation for independent research projects with faculty mentors. Each week, students draft or revise a section of a standard NIH grant proposal, refining the designs of their individual research projects, as well as their scientific inquiry and disciplinary writing skills. Respress creates a Google Doc collection for each weekly assignment, “chunking” portions of the proposal that require different skill sets and degrees of conceptual mastery.

As students post drafts to each collection, the entire class automatically receives viewing and commenting privileges. Respress and students then use the Google Doc commenting feature to leave substantive, conceptual feedback on each other’s drafts. Respress carefully models and discusses effective feedback practices during the first few weeks of the course online, while continuing to provide weekly feedback during classroom sessions. Read more »


ANNE MCNEILA short video describing this teaching strategy.
A student example.

As an alternative to a traditional research paper, Anne McNeil, LSA Department of Chemistry, incorporated a project utilizing to enhance her students' understanding of advanced topics in Chemistry and improve students’ scientific communication skills. Small groups of students in her graduate-level chemistry courses are challenged to collaborate on creating or revising public Wikipedia pages that will clearly communicate challenging concepts to both laypersons and experts.  Read more »


Scroll down to view a short video describing this teaching strategy.

Professor Orie ShaferOrie Shafer, LSA-Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, wants students in his 400-level cellular neuroscience course to: (1) appreciate the incremental progression of research that leads to major break-throughs; (2) develop the skills and confidence to identify the next logical research question, given the state of the field; and (3) design the experiments to systematically test that question. In the past, Shafer had students work in small, instructor-formed groups to develop these skills. Small group discussions leveraged differences in students' backgrounds and experience and fostered deeper engagement and practice.  However, these discussions were often dominated by particular students and it was difficult for Shafer to monitor and provide feedback on discussions. Read more »


Scott Moore in a lecture hallFollow this link for a short video describing this teaching strategy.

Scott Moore, School of Business, teaches Business Thought & Action where sophomores are challenged to apply the analytical tools they learn in class to business news articles via a class blog. Students’ blog posts include, but are not limited to, analyses of corporate mergers, new business models and practices, and new markets for products and services.

Students are required to post once per month and to read and reflect substantively (comment) on the writings of other students at least twice per month, helping the entire class learn about current events in business while practicing the application of key concepts and skills. Moore comments on students’ posts, reinforcing desired behaviors, and he also provides guidance on how to write provocative posts that invite comments and responses. Read more »