Online classes get a missing piece: Teamwork

Posted on October 17th, 2016

EdSurge explores a new tool that enables learners to interact with each other in online classes. Using the tool, named Bazaar, students complete lab exercises in teams created through algorithmic matching. When students complete a lesson, they can enter an online chat room, where a chatbot prompts discussion and reflection among classmates. Bazaar will be piloted this fall with approximately 200 students in introductory statistics courses offered at six California community colleges. According to the Community College Research Center, students in online classes at community colleges drop out at higher rates compared to face-to-face courses. Barbara Illowsky, a professor at De Anza College in California, sees the potential the tool may have in helping students stay invested in their courses. “I’m hoping that [students] learn how to collaborate online more, as opposed to just discussions where they’re posting a question and answering, posting and answering,” she says. “The bottom line is improved understanding of the course.”