I knew they had questions.
There had only been four class meetings and less than two weeks for us to get comfortable with the class structure and one another. Plus, our first stretch of online activities for our hybrid class was quickly approaching. Despite all of this, the discussion area on D2L reserved for general Q&A remained quiet. Zero posts.
Addressing questions, concerns, and requests was likely to alleviate some of the uncertainty that can accompany the initial “online days” in a hybrid class, especially on a campus like ours in which hybrid (blended) courses still are not all that common. On a whim, I set up a Padlet page for questions – any kind of questions, no names attached – and set aside three minutes near the beginning of class for the students to chat and post questions. Within those three minutes, we had a whole collection of things to address, with each group posting at least one question and some posting four or five. I spent the next few minutes directly addressing a handful of the posted questions, focusing on the ones that were likely to benefit most from the students’ input (e.g., a question about assignment due dates) or repeating an important message (e.g., yes, asking questions and contacting me via email during our online stretch are both part of the deal).
|A glimpse (screen shot) of just part of our questions page on the Padlet site.|
Three things I love most about Padlet include:
- The ease of setting up a page with just a moment’s notice.
- The fact that no login is required for students to post and/or view – I just have to provide them with the URL. Double-clicking on the background is all it takes to add a post once you are on the page.
- Its collaborative nature, especially when students can see the other posts appearing as they make their own contribution.