Learning Fellows in the Remote Classroom

Just as in the real classroom, in the remote environment the Learning Fellows make it possible to spend most of every class working together productively in small groups. In that classroom in Reed Hall, one of our biggest problems was that all the teams could hear each other all the time.

Still, as we become more comfortable in this new learning environment, we have found ways to recapture much of what we had. Each of my Latin 3 classes is still divided into teams of 3 or 4 students, and generally after about 10 minutes together in the "big room" doing some retrieval work or introducing the new topic of the day, these small groups go to their Zoom "breakout rooms." There, they do much of what they did in the physical classroom: they work together through passages for translation, they work on exercises designed to solidify their grasp of grammatical constructions, they hone their English-to-Latin translation skills. When they are translating from the book, each group has a "tech captain" who is responsible for screen-sharing a .pdf of the text, so that the students can look at the text and their teammates at the same time, and so that they, and the teaching team when we are in their "room," can use the Zoom annotation tools to mark up the text. Gone are the small whiteboards and bags of pens that we used in our on-campus classroom, replaced by team Google docs, linked to our Canvas page, which I preload with some of the day's projects, and which everyone in the group can open on their own computer, so that everyone can contribute. The Learning Fellows and I have all the teams' docs open on our desktops, so we can quickly go from one doc to the other as we move from breakout room to breakout room. We can highlight mistakes and type suggestions on the google docs, and we can make sure that everyone is in there contributing. And after every class I take another look at the docs, and then I erase that day's work and preload the next day's, because I want to emphasize that it's all about the learning that happens while we work, not about the finished product. 

For the full article please click on the following link: Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning