In a third example of sequencing online activities, here is a map for student-led discussions over an eight-week course. Assuming approximately 20 students, five groups of four students could rotate responsibility for leading a discussion or collaboration.
The format of this sequence assumes a three-week flow through one discussion. In one week, a student group plans; in the second week, they lead the discussion; and in the final week, there is a debrief related to the discussion. Optimally, after the planning stage, the group would submit their plan for leading the discussion to the instructor for feedback. The debrief of the discussion might also include a peer assessment of other group members.
To ensure that there is adequate time to give all groups time to plan and debrief, there could be overlaps either in the planning or debriefing process of one group, while another group presents.
Continuing with ideas for sequencing learning activities across a course, here is an example of structuring a group project across an eight-week online course. As with other examples of sequencing content, plenty of opportunity for variation. Beginning with criteria for the completed final report will help narrow down sub topics or milestones for students to develop as they work through the project.
Inserting a peer review or critique could occur more than once and be overlapped with other learning activities in the course.
A common question in designing online courses where content is designed in weekly modules or session is whether or not all activities need to be wrapped up at the end of each week. It’s actually preferable if the designer of an online course envisions a flow or sequence of activities across all the weeks of the course. Instructions and guidance around the specific activities needs to be written into each week that an activity runs.
The examples around assignment sequencing are not meant to represent ALL the assignments or work in the course, but a snapshot of the way certain activities might overlap.
This example shows a model for a course with three simulations across the eight weeks of the course. For each simulation, students are given the activity and preparation materials in the preceding week. The simulation runs and then the following week, there are specific debrief questions. At the same time as the debrief, preparation for the next simulation begins. Simulation could be replaced by case study analysis, jigsaw discussion, etc.