Ok so I am going to borrow/rework an idea from someone I did some teacher training with a few years back (cheers Rob Hawkins!).
In the original, Rob told his A level students “you work for a university and have just landed a big research grant to look into stem cells” the students had to go off research, plan and record on their phones a 5 minute radio interview explaining to the public what their research was and what they hope to achieve/find out. When the students had finished they bluetooth’d the recordings to Robs phone. Oh and if you ask a bunch of A level students to work in groups of 4 you can pretty much guarantee that they have at least 1 smartphone.
So lets try to do this in an online environment.
I am assuming all your students know of the common webspace to go to (vle, mooc home page, class website etc). I am also going to use google docs and hangouts but you could use wikis and other conferencing software (skype)
My question will be research into the effect of neonicotinoids on bees (it has been in the news recently so is topical and fits my “env chem” background). Obviously you should choose something from your curriculum if you decide to try this.
So I will put up a bit of preliminary reading on the question and some initial links to news stories.
You need some way to split your students up into groups of 4, if control is important to you then most vles allow you to create groups and assign students to them.
I am going to be a bit more flexible and have a place where students can post that they are starting a group and comment that they would like to join. This will allow students to form their own groups.
The first task for the students will be to research the subject and to share any useful links on a google doc shared with the group.
Next they will have to plan out/script the 5 minute “interview”. Again this should be done on the google doc but it would also be good if the group used a google hangout so they can do some face2face planning.
The final stage will be to use a published hangout to do the interview and record it to youtube
The finished youtube video should then be posted on the course site OR sent to the lecturer. I will get my students to post it so they can see the work of the other groups.
There we are one active learning experience and I even have anecdotal evidence it works (thanks Rob)