When you only get face time with your class for a few hours each week, finding ways to connect and collaborate outside of that time is clutch. (And we hear ya. We’ve written extensively about digital strategies for keeping classes engaged outside of class time.)
But if you’re a student, what are winning strategies for checking in, connecting with peers, or sharing follow-up thoughts from a class discussion without prompting from your instructor? And how do you leverage digital tools for staying in touch with peers you don’t know very well?
We’re so glad you asked.
Weigh in on an Assignment
Baby steps. Don’t forget that you can ask questions or share ideas on your latest assignment. If you’re looking for feedback on how to get started on a project - or if you’d like to clarify what your instructor expects - this is a great way to do that.
Plus, if you have a specific homework question for your instructor, the entire class benefits from seeing the exchange. Pat on the back for that.
Refer to Course Resources
As we learned more about how these classrooms were using Chalkup, we saw something really cool. Students were using Chalkup discussion threads to do course readings together. We saw them referring to specific pages in their textbook, posing questions or directing classmates to specific info.
If you want to connect after class, try leaning on your course resources. Your textbook can be like an icebreaker at a party. It’s common ground for everyone; you also reap the benefit of hearing reactions to course readings prior to class time. Way better than going it alone.
The Good ol’ Fashioned “And one more thing”
We like to promote classrooms in which students are driving conversation, wherever possible. While we love it when instructors rock the discussion threads, there’s something to be said about students jumping in and leading the charge. It’s good experience for developing communication skills and one of the best opportunities to tell your teacher - and your classmates - where you need feedback, more instruction, or additional resources to succeed.
So here’s our advice. If you have an idea/question after class that you want to share, mosey to the discussion starter and try on a question-based discussion for size.
Question-based discussions have an obvious ask attached to them. It signals to everyone that you have a query and begs a response.
And if what you really want to share isn’t a question per se, know that you can easily turn a post-class idea into a question by tacking on “what does everyone think of this?” to your thought. Let the feedback roll in.
Find a Study Buddy
This is all grand, but what if you don’t know your classmates very well? You could be in a big, lecture-style class, - or perhaps you’re new to a smaller classroom. It’s all good. It’s possible to message individual classmates by navigating to your “classmates” tab within your course page.
There you’ll see a list of everyone with messaging options. If you’re not ready to get a discussion going class-wide, perhaps you could reach out to one or two peers. An offer to exchange notes or set up a time to study for a test is perfectly reasonable.