Tools for interaction and collaboration
An overview over different tools for interaction and collaboration. This page is designed to provide support for educators at NTNU.
Denne side på norsk - Verktøy for interaksjon og samarbeid
Getting students to participate in active learning and increasing their interactions with their peers and educators is shown to increase motivation for learning and produce better learning results (Freeman et al. 2014., Deslauriers, Schelew, & Wieman, 2011.). Digital interaction and collaboration skills are important both in higher education and are increasingly prized by employers in today’s globalised society. Here are some tips for tools and systems you take use in your teaching.
Table of Contents [-]
- Online Storage and Sharing
- Collaborative Writing and Collaboration Tools
- Student Response Systems
- Tools for Communication
Online Storage and Sharing #
There are now several online services with storage, sharing and collaboration capabilities. These tools can help increased collaboration skills and digital understanding. NTNU offers many different online storage and sharing solutions, but you don’t have to use all of them. Try different solutions out and see which one suits your needs best.
- You must use NTNU's selected systems that have a data processing agreement
- Never store confidential or sensitive data in the cloud.
- You must reflect over what personal data, research data and copyrighted data you might be saving in the cloud
- You may be held responsible for sharing copyrighted content
OneDrive is Microsoft's cloud storage service. OneDrive is based in Ireland and not the United States. This provides greater security in accordance with stricter EU rules on transparency.
NTNU has signed a data processing agreement with Microsoft which among other things ensures that all data is stored within the EU. This allows you to safely store your documents, photos and other files, and access them from all your mobile devices connected to the Internet. Each user gets up to 100 terabytes (TB) of storage in OneDrive as long as they study or are employed by NTNU. You can install Office 365 on five devices at the same time.
NTNU Box #
NTNU Box is a cloud service for personal storage, sharing and synchronization of files between all your mobile devices connected to the internet. Box is an institutional alternative to Dropbox, with agreements that meet all relevant requirements in Norwegian laws and regulations.
Collaborative Writing and Collaboration Tools #
Collaborative skills are in great demand by employers and are especially important in today's globalised society. Tasks requiring students to write together can help develop students' collaborative skills.
Collaborative writing occurs mostly in virtual arenas now, whether students are in different geographical locations or sitting together and working online.
Word Online #
Microsoft Word is part of Office 365 that all NTNU staff and students have access to. With Word in Office 365 you can write both in the program downloaded on your computer or in your browser. All files stored on OneDrive are stored in the cloud and synchronized on your computer and can therefore be opened both when you have the internet and if you are offline. Documents must be synchronized regularly between rooms. One or more can work on the same Word document and all editing done online or locally can be transferred both ways.
Get started with Word Online (currently only in Norwegian)
OneNote provides great opportunities to digitise, share and structure all your notes; lecture notes or group meeting notes. You can build your own notebooks in OneNote with sub-pages in all subjects and topics, insert links, pictures, graphs, illustrations, texts etc. As in Word; OneNote works both in the cloud and on your computer as a client.
Get started with OneNote (currently only in Norwegian)
Padlet is a virtual, dynamic board which easily allows for collaboration between students and lecturers across different media. It’s a great pedagogical tool for brainstorming and group work, and as a digital educational resource.
Padlet is intuitive to set up and has almost unlimited educational uses. Here are a few easy ways you can start to use Padlet to enhance your teaching:
- Collecting questions and comments from students. Padlet gives students the opportunity to submit questions during lectures. The questions and comments appear on your screen in real time allowing you to answer them during the lecture or afterwards. This is a very useful tool in large lecture halls or for remote, digital lecturing. It gives all students the opportunity to participate in lectures.
- Facilitating group work and active learning. Padlet gives students a space to collaborate and share ideas together on an interactive canvas. Tasks and group work can be put on Padlet which the students can then access and collectively work on. The freeform of the canvas allows for ideas to flows and for students to be as creative as they like in their answers. You don’t have to have an account to take part or download any apps, with a Padlet’s unique code anyone with the code can access the Padlet on their mobile, tablet or laptop.
- Organizing a course. Padlet can function as an administrative tool for planning and implementing courses with multiple lecturers and course leaders. It can also be used as an arena to exchange ideas and exercises with colleagues and teaching assistants.
Padlet is accessed and used in your internet browser on your mobile, tablet or computer. A Padlet can be shared with a unique code and viewers and participants don’t need to log on to use it. You can also integrate Padlets as elements in a Blackboard course.
Student Response Systems #
Student response systems (SRS) were previously known as clicker systems, where students were each assigned their voting apparatus to answer quiz-like questions in the classroom. Over the past four or five years, the development of student response systems has opened a whole new world of digital interaction with students.
Now you can use these tools to check knowledge, get feedback and responses to discussion points from students in real time. Students utilise their mobile, tablet or PC to vote or participate I discussions. Th results and responses can be shown on a scene in real time and can be downloaded after the lecture too.
These tools can help increase audience participation, interaction and motivation knowledge sharing. See the literature list for suggested academic papers to read about the effects and limitations of using SRS in higher education.
Kahoot is an online tool where you can create, play and share digital quizzes. It was developed by NTNU's Professor of Game Technology Alf Inge Wang and has now reached one billion players around the world! It's a fun way to check how much students remember after a lecture or how well prepared they are. Kahoot is very intuitive to use. Creating quizzes requires an account that you can create for free. Anyone with the quiz code can play and students just need to have a device connected to the web to play with.
Mentimeter is a student response system which makes it easy to increase student interaction in class. You set the questions or task for the class and students use their mobiles to answer and play long. There are many different question types and exercises that can be done with Mentimeter: polls, word clouds, audience questions, quizzes and more. Students get a code to the Mentimeter which allows them to access the programme, no log in details needed. Results are displayed in real time allowing for whole class participation and inclusive debate.
Mentimeter can be used on its own as a presentation tool, but it can also be integrated into a PowerPoint presentation. It’s simple to add a few slides with questions or a mini popquiz into presentations. How about a simple poll at the beginning of the session to see how much students already know about topic? That coupled with a quick quiz at the end of the session will help understand their progress and decide what areas they need to study more closely individually. This is an excellent tool to use as a first step towards engaging more students in large lecture halls or on different campuses.
Tools for Communication #
There is an array of tools that can be used for digital communication. Here are some of the tools you can use for various types of communication with colleagues and students.
Audiovisual Communication #
NTNU offer a couple of solutions for audio and visual communication These communication tools can be useful for when you need to mentor students or give feedback to them. They can also be useful for undertaking distance education or conducting oral exams.
Skype for Business #
Skype for Business is a collaboration tool for staff and students offered through NTNU’s Office 365 pack. It allows you to have audio and video conversations, share screen and programs, send and receive instant messages (chat), and conduct digital meetings.
Skype for Business is particularly suitable for one-on-one communication, such as student mentoring, giving feedback or oral exams. If you are talking to a group of students or holding a webinar, we recommend using Blackboard Collaborate.
Blackboard Collaborate #
Blackboard Collaborate is a simple and reliable video conferencing tool designed for use in educational settings. Collaborate acts as a virtual classroom and provides an arena to share presentations, text files, images, and use digital tools to facilitate student-active learning online.
It is not suitable for streaming between physical rooms on campus but is great for webinars or large group meetings. NTNU employees have access through Blackboard where they can easily create a room that can always be accessed or with limited access. A Collaborate room can be used both by people internally and externally, anyone with the link can access the room. Students can also use Collaborate if they are in a Balckboard group together. Both the course leader and the students can create a Collaborate room that can be used by all students in the group.
Learning Management System #
Learning management systems or learning management platforms are programmes used to coordinate and manage course content. The learning platforms can also be used for communication in teaching, both between student-student, student-teacher, and teacher-teacher. The system often offers both synchronous and asynchronous communication. Synchronous communication is often done through chat or discussion forums. Asynchronous communication occurs through email or posts / messages.
NTNU has Blackboard as its learning platform. This is the only learning platform with which NTNU has a data handling agreement. All teachers and students have a Blackboard account and are encouraged to use this system. It’s not possible to use other learning management systems because NTNU only has a data handling agreement with Blackboard.
NTNU actively manages and develops Blackboard to give you the best possible experience, for more information about how to improve your Blackboard experience you can click here to visit NTNU’s resources for Blackboard.
Social Media #
The use of social media in higher education is often discussed, as there are potential challenges with privacy, information security and the distinction between your public and private life.
NTNU has access to a service called Yammer through Office 365. It is not widely used, but could be a solution as a "private" social network where only your colleagues or fellow students can sign up. Feide login is used.
Get started with Yammer (currently only in Norwegian)
Deslauriers, L., Schelew, E., & Wieman, C. (2011). Improved learning in a large-enrollment physics class.science, 332(6031), 862-864
Freeman, S., Eddy, S. L., McDonough, M., Smith, M. K., Okoroafor, N., Jordt, H., & Wenderoth, M. P. (2014). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(23), 8410-8415.
Hedgcock, W. H., & Rouwenhorst, R. M. (2014). Clicking their way to success: Using student response systems as a tool for feedback. Journal for Advancement of Marketing Education, 22(2).
Trees, A. R., & Jackson, M. H. (2007). The learning environment in clicker classrooms: student processes of learning and involvement in large university‐level courses using student response systems. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(1), 21-40.