Engage students, increase their breadth of knowledge, and encourage discussion.


Step 1: 

Explain the activity to students in a post in the Class Feed.
One half of students are Researchers: they have to research a topic and post about it. The other half of students are Analysts: they have to contribute to, and critique, the Researchers' posts. Let them know which topics they are allowed to cover as Researchers and the length of post that is expected (e.g. 300-400 words).

Step 2: 

Cap the number of Researchers/Analysts for each topic and let students allocate themselves to different roles and topics by 'first-come, first-served'.
A simple way to do this is for you to create a number of posts corresponding to the number of topics available to students. Students can then simply comment on your post, saying e.g. 'Researcher' or 'Analyst'.

If you use this method, you can ask students to post their replies by simply going back and editing their comments on the relevant posts. This way you have essentially created topic-based discussion groups in the Class Feed.

Step 3: 

React to and comment on students' research and critiques in the Class Feed. Alternatively (or in addition), you might follow up the exercise with a class discussion of students' work.

Advanced tips

For further inspiration and a more advanced set-up, see Dr. Pete Rorabaugh's use of Aula at Kennesaw State (back then, Aula was called Ublend). 

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