Portfolio of Online Activities

Contact Information
May 4, 2009, 12:57 am
Filed under: Contact Information

Hi Folks,

If you have any questions, concerns or comments regarding this resource, please feel free to contact me at moorem@camosun.bc.ca


Meghan Moore


Implementation Strategies
May 1, 2009, 6:32 am
Filed under: Implementation Strategies
  • Provide clear and concise activity instructions (leave no room for misinterpretation)
  • Set clear expectations and objectives – duration, participation levels, learning outcomes, etc.
  • Set deadlines (in some cases incorporate milestone dates to keep learners moving along)
  • Provide support – facilitators should gently guide the group as required and jump in to assist if issues arises.
  • Communicate – keep the lines of communication open throughout the activity (be approachable) and encourage learners to post questions into a public forum so the entire class can benefit
  • Debrief – provide learners with the opportunity to reflect on the activity, their learning and what worked (and what didn’t!)

Characteristics of Effective Online Activities
April 30, 2009, 11:17 pm
Filed under: Characteristics of Effective Activities

Accessible ensures all participants can access the activities regardless of time, location or technology.

Contain Resources – online activities are typically rich with resources (which can be especially helpful in getting students started).

Simple – keeping instructions and activities straight-forward will enable learners to spend more time on the activities (and less time caught up in the logistics, scheduling, etc).

Adaptable – online activities can be adapted for various learning situations and can be modified to meet contextual needs.

Cost-effective – simple activities can be set up in traditional communication tools, such as discussions without the need to learn or introduce new technologies (unless you want to).

Stimulate critical thinking – activities can promote critical thinking by drawing upon various perspectives, ideas and opinions.

Focus on the learning experience – a well planned activity will not focus on the technology (in fact the technology is secondary).  Research indicates “high-quality interaction, full participation and reflection do not happen simply by providing the technology” (Tolmie and Boyle, 2000).

Encourage community building – activities can assist with the developing a sense of community among learners (and also social presence).  Essential skills in team-building, social networking, relationship management and communication can also be developed.

April 30, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Selecting Activities: Considerations

Below is a list of some of the essential elements faculty may want to consider when selecting online activities.

  • Context is key – learners and instructors comfort level using technology, computer literacy,
  • Selecting appropriate technology to facilitate activities (Bates’ SECTIONS model)
  • Learning Outcomes – what are you hoping to achieve?
  • Constraints – time, resource, budget, expertise, support, etc.
  • Subject/Topic – assess suitability of activity for the topic or subject at hand
  • Teaching philosophies
  • Learning and instructional theories

Can you think of any others?

April 30, 2009, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Definitions

Online Activities – According to Salmon (2002), online activities (which the author refers to as e-tivities) take place in an online environment and requires the involvement of at least two or more individuals with the goal of improving active and participative online learning.  Do you agree with this definition? Should we expand on it? How can we improve on it?

Other terms worth defining: engaging, interactive, social presence, active learning

Some Activity Ideas…
April 30, 2009, 10:58 pm
Filed under: Online Activity Ideas

Listed below are just some (of the millions) of interesting activities you can implement online or in a face-to-face classroom. During our session, I am hoping we can add to this list! 🙂

Learning Teams (Jigsaw Learning)

Jigsaw learning allows groups of individuals to become experts in a given subject over a short period of time and then provides them with the opportunity to teach others in the class about their newly acquired expertise. Learners can present material, facilitate a discussion, develop a group blog, wiki, quiz questions, etc.

Self-Assessment/Quick Quizzes

Embed short quick quizzes (5-10 questions) directly within your course material. Quiz quizzes can serve as a way for learners to capture the important elements of topics and automated feedback can be set up. Some faculty use this is a form of note taking for learners.

Idea Exchange

Create a forum for learners to build on relevant resources related to topics covered in your class. Encourage learners to contribute videos, articles, discussion papers, websites and other scholarly resources.  Another way to build on resources is to have learners collaboratively create an annotated bibliography.


Adapted from Salmon (2002), this simple activity requires groups to be assigned an article, chapter or website to review. Groups are then asked to summarize their article (or resource) in 32 words. They are then asked to summarize the resource in 16, down to 8 to 4 words(over a period of time). To add a creative twist — half way through the activity, let learners introduce videos, images, blogs, wikis to represent their resource.

The Chain Effect

In groups, learners are asked to tackle a specific aspect of a problem (could potentially be a case study) Groups are to approach the problem in a pre-defined sequence and must complete their portion in a specific amount of time. Each group will be asked to build on the previous groups work. An alternative way to approach this activity is to have learners actually build on a poem, report or story.

Websites about Myself

Learners are asked to share three websites that illustrate their interests with other learners. This is a fantastic online ice breaker (Watkins, 2005).

Scenario-based Learning & Online Role Plays

Divide learners into small groups and assign each member a specific role. Various roles may include idea proposer, disrupter, devil’s advocate, questioner, example giver, clarifier, tension reliever. Learners are then given a topic to discuss and are asked to participate in their assigned role.  This ‘spices up’ traditional asynchronous discussion activities!


Concept Mapping

Provide learners (individually or in groups) with a concept and have them map out related concepts, and ideas. The objective is to demonstrate how knowledge is inter-related and to encourage learners to connect prior knowledge with new knowledge. Having learners develop a graphical depiction of their concept map introduces a creative element to the activity. Free concept mapping software does exist, however you need to make sure your learners have the skills (and comfort level) to use it. Here at Camosun, we have a tool called LiveRoom (contains a Whiteboard) that may work well for this type of activity.

Online Debate

Divide learners into groups and have each group research and defend a side of an issue or controversial topic.


This interesting activity requires the class, depending on the size to be divided into two (or more) groups. Select a group of learners to participate in a discussion on a particular topic. Another group will be assigned “observers” and are initially asked to watch, listen and evaluate as the discussion unfolds. The observers are then asked to engage in a discussion to promote reflection, summarize major ideas and present their feedback.


Based off inquiry model, learners (individually or in groups) are asked to explore various online resources (set up by their facilitator) on a particular topic.  Or depending on the topic and the skill level of the learners, have them develop the webquest for another group in the class! J Example: http://midsolutions.org/samples/MC72quest/gagne_and_boys_online.htm

Interactive Glossary

Learners are asked to add their own terms and definitions related to a topic within their course.

April 30, 2009, 9:25 pm
Filed under: Resources

Hamid, A. (2001). e-learning: Is it the “e” or the learning that matters? The Internet and Higher Education, 4(3-4), 311-316.

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2005). Collaborating online: Learning together in Community. (1st ed.). San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Palloff, R., & Pratt, K. (2001). Lessons from the cyberspace classroom: The realities of online teaching (1st ed.). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Incorporated.

Watkins, R. 2005. Developing interactive e-learning activities. Retrieved April 30, 2009, from http://www.qou.edu/homePage/arabic/researchProgram/eLearningResearchs/developingInteractive.pdf

Watkins, R. 2005. 75 e-learning activities: making online learning interactive. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.

Salmon, G. 2002. e-tivities: The key to active online learning. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Salmon, G. 2007. e-moderating: The key to teaching and learning online. 2007. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.

Great Websites

Illinois Online Network – Online Teaching Activity Index: http://www.ion.uillinois.edu/resources/otai/

Instructional Design Resource Center – http://idrc.midsolutions.org/login/index.php (this is  a fantastic site full of FREE courses on various educational topics related to online teaching, facilitation, course design, etc.

Delivery Selection Tool (DST) – Choosing between Face-to-face or Online Delivery for an Instructional Unit – http://theoreticalframework.org/user_manual.php