Peer-to-peer learning makes face-to-face instruction enjoyable. Due to the pandemic, students at 2-year degree institutes were catapulted to online learning environments. Students have consistently reported the lack of peer-to-peer learning as one of the major drawbacks of online learning. Without peer learning, the online learning experience was difficult, isolating, and often frustrating. For underrepresented students (students with disability and minority students), online environment can present additional challenges such as exclusion, technical challenges etc. For instructors, building in opportunities for peer interactions has been a challenge and novel ideas are welcome.
In this presentation, our main objective is to identify ways to facilitate peer-to-peer learning in online environment. We will take a deeper dive into the effective use of discussion boards. Lastly, we will also discuss the possibilities for grading criteria for peer-to-peer learning. Each discipline (e.g., humanities, business etc) may have its own preferred methods of peer learning. Here, we will share some ideas about how peer-to-peer learning can be facilitated in Science courses. In particular, we will discuss opportunities for introducing online peer interactions, peer coaching, and peer feedback. Discussion boards are a great tool for sharing ideas, thoughts, and opinions. These are useful in successfully completing group-work such as term projects or term presentations. An instructor’s role as a facilitator or a moderator of a learning community is not widely discussed. Best practices on discussion boards often go undocumented. Based on conversations with our colleagues, we will share tips and provide insights into how to set the tone for online discussions. We will provide ‘sample discussion prompts’ that have inclusive language to ensure underrepresented students are welcome into discussions. Most importantly, we will share samples of grading criteria regarding peer-to-peer learning.