Synchronous learner/learner interaction: challenges and strategies

I just thought we could keep the conversation going here. I heard (and read) so many interesting comments in today’s session! I went and read some of the group worksheets and it seems that tech issues were raised fairly often as a challenge to interaction in the classroom, especially learner/learner interaction. After my very limited stint of distance learning this spring, it seems to me that tech will always fail as some point or another. This is probably even more true with our student population. So it is useful to learn strategies to work around the tech issues. I understand the attraction of synchronous activities for language classes, but I wonder if assigning synchronous group or pair work (I also prefer groups as you work around the “my partner didn’t do it” issue) outside of the classroom would be an answer. It takes a lot of stress off of the virtual classroom aspect and still provides ways for students to interact with one another.

I do not remain convinced that synchronous sessions with 30 undergrad language students work… There are the tech issues but there are also motivational issues. Some students will have video and a mike but will say they don’t to avoid that work. As an instructor I can monitor student work a lot more closely asynchronously than I can synchronously, if that makes sense.

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