Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on gu.se

Formative activities - examples of synchronous tasks

Material used courtesy of Chalmers University of Technology.

Suggestions to meet the need for active learning and classroom assessment techniques in online learning environments

Most of the learning you achieve in campus-based contexts is also possible in online environments. When you change channel, however, most processes take longer and the need to check in with student learning often becomes even more important. How to do that might vary with the intended learning, with the type of content, and with the size of the group. We have provided some examples in the table below.

Synchronous activities that can be used to promote active learning in lectures and seminars
Type of activity Online tweaks or tools Comments and advice

Buzz groups

Use the breakout room function in Zoom, set the group size to 3–5 and then randomize groups.

The short group discussion can be an isolated event or a follow-up on a quiz before asking the question a second time.

Think –
pair – share (TPS)

Use the breakout room function in Zoom, set the group size to 2 and then randomize groups.

This task can be a follow-up to a poll or a quiz, but it can also be more general than that and reporting back might involve greater variation. For such TPSs we recommend reporting back in a Canvas forum, or in Padlet.

Peer instruction

Use Zoom poll tool or Mentimeter for a conceptual question and the Zoom breakout room function for pair discussions. Read more at the Canvas site

Transfers well and stimulates connection between students (Peer learning). See the websites at Ku Leuven and Learning Lab DTU for guides how and when to implement peer instruction.

One-minute paper

Use a Canvas assignment or zoom poll or a Padlet or Mentimeter board.

Granted that you find a tool you are comfortable with, this activity transfers really well.

Muddiest point

Use a Canvas or Zoom poll or a Padlet board.

Granted that you find a tool you are comfortable with, this activity transfers really well.


Canvas quizzes are fairly simple to put together; Mentimeter offers convenient presentation of results.

Quiz design can take a while but effective quizzes can generate a great deal of learning.

Q&A via chat
(or a forum)

Use Zoom and the chat there. Save the chat when the lecture is over. You can also use a forum in the Canvas space for the course /lecture.

You might want to unpin the chat pod so that it is easier to monitor (possibly on a second screen) or place the 'forum' window on a separate screen. You might also want to make sure to pause your lecture at even intervals (every 10 minutes) to review the chat and address questions. If you have a TA, one option is to get some help with monitoring the chat and answering questions.

Quick polls during a lecture

Zoom’s poll tool or Mentimeter.

Some questions can be anticipated and a poll can be designed in advance. The Zoom tool is fairly quick to post but has a limited range of question types.


Page Manager: Olof Siverbo|Last update: 4/28/2020

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?