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Small group writing about key concepts

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The Cloudworks Team
20 August 2008

In a first year psychology course, one of two weekly lectures was replaced by online collaborative tasks. Over a three week cycle, students were first asked to define some key concepts in their own words and share and discuss these definitions with other members of their group.

During the second week of the cycle, each group member undertook some guided reading.

In the third week, the members collaborated online to write a 700-800 word essay.

The course leader picked two or three essays as exemplar submissions and posted them with feedback to the class message board. This conceptual scaffolding spanned six different psychology topics. Students evidenced high levels motivation and improved exam performance with other first year courses adopting similar approaches. [Professor David Nicol, University of Strathclyde, REAP project]

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