Below is a collated list of independent asynchronous activity ideas which have been used in practice here at the University of Lincoln. These activities enable students to work independently through tasks by gaining, investigating and applying new knowledge in different contexts. All of these activities work well independently but can be made more powerful when findings from the individual tasks are discussed or further acted upon during further synchronous sessions/activities.
Discussion boards provide a simple platform for students to critique, reflect, synthesise knowledge, and build a learning community with their peers and tutors. As such, they can provide efficient and powerful asynchronous learning opportunities for students.
Whilst discussion boards can be used as an individual, stand alone activity, often discussion boards work best when they are able to use their work to feedback directly into synchronous tasks. This usually takes the form of looking at: conceptual understanding, evaluation and analysis or tasks that help students apply knowledge within practice.
Linking the discussion board to a task that will be discussed with in your synchronous task helps to make the task more meaningful and gives it a clear purpose. This also provides a solid outcome from the asynchronous task as students will know this discussion will be used to start a wider discussion and inform future learning.
We have collated a wide range of tips and ideas in conjunction with Dr Kelly Sisson, including managing your workload whilst using discussion boards. These can be found in the link below.
Micro lectures or short form video content can be a useful way for students to gain new knowledge when paired with other activities to test and apply this knowledge in new situations. One example of this would be to use a micro lecture which will then be tested by a quiz to ensure understanding.
Micro lectures or short form videos should be:
- Short (less than 20 minutes)
- Tackle one key concept or objective
- Be able to be used in wider activities to support development and application of knowledge.
We have several tools at the University which can support you with developing micro lectures/short form video content. This toolkit shows you how to plan, record, publish and monitor your engagement with your micro lecture but similar principles can be applied to other types of video.
At the University of Lincoln we have several video services which offer free online courses or access to a wide range of tv/film/documentaries to be used to enhance learning. We have placed some information about these services below.
Box of Broadcasts
Box of broadcasts is an on demand tv and radio service designed specifically for education. This will enable you to access, share and rewatch shows that have been broadcast. This can be useful to share broadcasts with your students, you can also make a clip of a certain section of a show to ensure video content is limited down to the information your students need.
Linkedin Learning is a free service that we have here at the University for all staff and students. This gives you unrestricted access to over 14,000+ courses run by industry expert. This is used across the University to teach core digital skills, especially in preparation for assessments or as a flipped learning approach to encourage independent skill development. The tool also enables students to gain certification before leaving University in core tools and skills, which can be used to enhance/reinforce graduate outcomes.
Quizzes can be useful in both formative and summative situations, however, they can also be useful as a ‘pulse-checking (web)’ activity to check your students understanding. Several of our tools enable this to be done independently and can provide basic feedback to students to help correct their understanding. This can also help you keep track of your student’s development and enables you to support and enhance your offering based off the results.
There are two simple tools which can support you with doing quick quizzes/surveys. The first is built inside of blackboard and allows you to prepare multiple choice questions (MCQ) quizzes. The second is Microsoft forms which will help you design quick surveys or quizzes. Either option will give you and your students feedback to support development. However, it is recommended to use Blackboard for any summative assessment quizzes due to us being able to lock tests and stop students submitting after the deadline.
Simulations can be a great way to help students see cause and effect independently, enabling them to investigate and hypothesise outcomes while using analytical skills to develop reasoning. These simulations can range anywhere from scientific and maths-based models to online simulations of role plays and can offer a wide range of opportunities.This type of activity, whilst stand alone, is made more powerful when discussed in more depth during synchronous sessions.
Dr Ishak Demir, who used educational simulations about macro economics to help his students get immersed in their understanding application of knowledge. A case study video has been recorded to talk in more depth about his experiences and benefits for the students. (see right).
We have also highlighted a showcase (below) by David Rugara (LIBS) who used Panopto to record live role plays for analysis. This could be changed into an asynchronous activity to allow students to watch and learn, adapt, and change their responses based on the feedback given.