Choose an activity

Choose an activity

Introductory Activities

How can I incorporate engaging introductory activities to foster a sense of community and participation among students?

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Activity
Fast Friends
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

This activity is inspired by Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island, USA. It is a great warm-up activity that helps to build close connections between students.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Something Behind You
by Rebecca J. Hogue

Activity purpose:

The purpose of the activity is to allow students to get to know each other in an online environment.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Using Metaphors to Express Thoughts
by Sayyed Daifallah

Activity purpose:

This is a warm-up activity and it could also be a fun introductory activity. It can be used in the literature classes, or any classes involving readings where the teacher would like the students to offer an affective response to the reading. It is mostly used at the beginning of each class especially when instructors start presenting a new text for the first time whether or not this text is a short story, a poem, or an article. The main purpose of this activity is to attract learners to the new text and to show to what extent they prepared themselves to discuss this text in the class.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Words From Your Names
by Ahmed Shalaby

Activity purpose:

This activity can be used in the first lesson of a new term or course when students meet with the teacher for the first time for an online or face-to-face class. The purpose of this activity is to break the ice and help students get to know each other.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable

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Activity
The Shape of You
by Sarah Neuwirth

Activity purpose:

This is a fun and quirky activity to break the ice and get to know each other or a warm-up exercise that could set the tone for collaboration activities.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Choose a Plant
by Jen Alexander

Activity purpose:

This activity encourages students to reflect on themselves and compare how they feel and what they need to that of a plant. Through conversation and discussion, community can be strengthened.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Language Portrait
by Francesca Helm

Activity purpose:

Reflecting on language experiences, sharing biographical information.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Paper / pens, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
What Kind of Animal are You?
by Irene Maweu

Activity purpose:

This is a fun introductory or warm-up activity.

Tech required: Breakout rooms
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Tour of Where You Are
by Patrice Prusko

Activity purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to build community through students sharing where they are studying from, during a time when most expected to be on a campus together.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Surrealist Free Drawing Introductions
by Autumm Caines

Activity purpose:

Creative take on doing intros that can help students to know one another and challenges perfection paralysis.

Tech required: Paper / pens
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Share an Object From Home
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

This activity encourages students to get to know each other better, find commonalities, and create a sense of community.

Tech required: Objects
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Pass the Ball & How Do You Make Rice?
by Autumm Caines, Patrice Prusko

Activity purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to engage in a discussion about identity and difference.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Introductions: Story of Your Name
by Patrice Prusko

Activity purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to get to know people's name on a more personal level through storytelling.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Human Scavenger Hunt
by Susan D. Blum

Activity purpose:

  • Create positive engagement with new classmates;
  • Demonstrate and celebrate the variety of students' experiences and backgrounds;
  • Ensure the centrality of student voices from the first day of class;
  • Give a taste of and curiosity about class themes;
  • Connect class themes to students' experiences and lives.
Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Asynchronous & Synchronous Introductions
by Mia Zamora, Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

For students to share multiple dimensions of themselves, synchronously or asynchronously.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

Ongoing Engagement Activities

What ongoing engagement activities can I implement to sustain active involvement and collaboration within my teaching community?

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Activity
Origin Stories
by Felecia Caton Garcia, Heather Wright

Activity purpose:

This activity could be used as a community-building exercise, or even possibly an icebreaker, where students get to share more about themselves, in a new and different way. It engages students' creative and critical thinking through story, allowing them to recognise the degree to which 'origin' stories shape our understanding of the world, ourselves, others, teaching, and learning, etc., and recognising that sometimes we must write our own.

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins
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Activity
Getting at Metaphor
by Felecia Caton Garcia, Heather Wright

Activity purpose:

This activity can be carried out at any point during an academic year and works well as a brainstorming or pre-writing activity. It encourages students to engage in different ways of seeing and experiencing things through metaphors. 

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Personalised Conversation Cards
by Scott Bowyer

Activity purpose:

This activity is great for building community and discussing course content in a structured way.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Paper / pens
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Guess The Topic Mingle
by Heather Kretschmer

Activity purpose:

This activity is a twist on the children's game 20 Questions for kids, in which a player reads clues one by one while the other players try to guess the person, place, or thing. This version is ideal for introducing a new topic in an educational setting. The instructor distributes the clues among the students who then interact with one another to exchange information and guess what the topic might be.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Create a Fake Photo Group Assignment
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

For students to collaborate, get creative, and produce something that helps them feel closer to one another.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
What We Don't Know About Each Other
by Noha El-Rawy

Activity purpose:

This activity is great for helping students to get to know each other and keeping the class atmosphere fun and engaging.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Shared online space
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Share Music and Create a Class Playlist
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Help students share something about themselves, musical tastes, while building community as they speak about their musical choices.

Tech required: Shared online space, Music sharing
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
I Wish My Students / Teacher Knew
by Amena Magdy

Activity purpose:

This activity promotes both teacher and student wellbeing throughout the whole semester (beginning, middle and end). It helps you and students to connect as human beings and communicate effectively.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Using Dominoes in Teaching
by Ahmed Gebaly

Activity purpose:

Allow students to cooperate and solve problems. It is a language-learning activity to help students learn verb conjugation in Arabic, Spanish, French, Italian, English etc. This activity can be adapted to teach discipline-specific content. For example, it can be used in social sciences by putting a picture on one side and a name or a definition on the other side. It can also be used in mathematics, where the result is on the side and the mathematical problem on the other side.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Objects, Shared online space
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
The Shape of You
by Sarah Neuwirth

Activity purpose:

This is a fun and quirky activity to break the ice and get to know each other or a warm-up exercise that could set the tone for collaboration activities.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
PowerPoint Karaoke
by Maha Bali, Jasmina Najjar, Hoda Mostafa

Activity purpose:

Engage students in improv presenting, and enhance oral presentation skills in a light and humorous way.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Synchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Tiny Tales
by Laura Gibbs

Activity purpose:

Encourage short, focused storytelling, easy to share with others, writing stories in 100 words (or fewer), or 6 words or 2 sentences, etc.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Cognitive / Exam Wrappers for Metacognition
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Help students reflect on their exam/assessment performance in order to improve future performance in your course.

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Language Portrait
by Francesca Helm

Activity purpose:

Reflecting on language experiences, sharing biographical information.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Paper / pens, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 30+ mins
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Activity
Lost in Translation
by Francesca Helm

Activity purpose:

Raising awareness of richness of language, creativity in language use (inventing words), multilingualism cultural meanings and connotations of words.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Wheel of Life for Student Self-Help
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

The Wheel of Life provides a snapshot of your wellbeing and the level of satisfaction in your current circumstances.

Tech required: No tech needed
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Thick Greetings
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines, Laura Gibbs, Rebecca J. Hogue

Activity purpose:

To respect the dignity of each person by providing a slower, thicker, and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves (as described here).

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Simple Metacognitive Activities
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Help students develop metacognitive learning strategies, which refer to the ability to think about one's own thinking processes. By engaging in metacognitive activities, students can become more aware of their own learning processes, monitor their own progress, and ultimately become more independent and effective learners

Tech required: No tech needed
Asynchronous
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Start / Stop / Continue
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Encourage students to look at what's working and what can be changed in a constructive manner that can lead to action.

Tech required: Shared online space, Polling tool, Cameras off option
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Pass the Paper
by Sarah Silverman

Activity purpose:

The purpose of the virtual Pass the Paper activity is for participants to have an opportunity to connect synchronously through writing rather than speaking.

Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Gratitude Journal
by Maha Bali, Nadine Aboulmagd, Hoda Mostafa, Azza Awwad

Activity purpose:

Support students' wellbeing by suggesting a daily or periodic practice of gratitude, promote radical self-compassion.

Tech required: No tech needed, Paper / pens
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
15% solutions
by Maha Bali, Jasmina Najjar

Activity purpose:

The 15% Solution is a fun and creative way to solve problems with a group of students (or teachers). It encourages people to work together as a team and use everyone's different ideas and perspectives to come up with the best solution. View the original activity.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Two-Minute Paper
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Capturing student learning or for use as a cool-down activity at the end of a class. It can be adopted to check students’ understanding after they have finished a reading, video or module.

Tech required: Polling tool
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Appreciative Interviews
by Maha Bali, Autumm Caines, Mia Zamora

Activity purpose:

To help groups identify elements of success.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Troika Consulting - Adaptation for Class Community Building
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines

Activity purpose:

Get students used to supporting each other and helping each other without always turning to an expert or teacher to solve problems; also useful for quick problem-solving.

Tech required: Breakout rooms
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
TRIZ
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Help students develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. According to the Liberating Structures website, TRIZ can 'stop counterproductive activities and behaviors to make space for innovation'.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
Third Places for Ongoing Community Building
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

This video was a recorded interview where Dave Cormier asked Maha Bali to give a recommendation for online learning during the pivot to emergency remote teaching during Covid-19.

Creating semi-formal, semi-synchronous spaces outside of formal class time for students to socialize with each other (and the teacher where possible) to address the socioemotional needs of students.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Theatre of the Oppressed: Image Theatre
by Maha Bali, Alex Fink, Tina Pippin, Sarita Shukla

Activity purpose:

To invite students to use their bodies to represent, collaboratively, an image of something that is worth discussing, and then use the resulting 'tableau' combined as a source of critical reflection, and then invite participants to make changes to make the image different (e.g. if it is an oppressive situation, how can we make small modifications to make it more liberating?)

Tech required: Video conferencing, Cameras off option
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Surrealist Free Drawing Introductions
by Autumm Caines

Activity purpose:

Creative take on doing intros that can help students to know one another and challenges perfection paralysis.

Tech required: Paper / pens
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Studio Visits
by Mia Zamora

Activity purpose:

Bring in external speakers into your classroom via a virtual 'studio visit', an informal discussion with one or two external guests.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Structured Dialogues
by Sherri Spelic

Activity purpose:

This is a pair or trio activity which is ideal for reflection and also to practice focused listening. Structured dialogues can work well with teens and adults in a variety of learning contexts or communities.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Room 101
by Jasmina Najjar

Activity purpose:

Encourages students think critically about a given topic. This activity can work well as a reflective activity where students are encouraged to reflect on their learning experiences and identify what they consider to be the most challenging or frustrating aspects of a course.

Tech required: Breakout rooms
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
Daily Creates
by Mia Zamora

Activity purpose:

The Daily Create (also sometimes know as 'Daily Digital Alchemy' or #DDAs in the context of #NetNarr) provides a space for regular practice of spontaneous creativity through 'mini' challenges published every day.

Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Critical Uncertainties
by Autumm Caines, Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Develop strategies for operating in a range of plausible yet unpredictable futures.

Please note that the video above was developed for a summer 2020 professional development activity called DigPINS - it was not created for this particular resource, so there is mention of a synchronous session and things to sign up for - this was part of the summer 2020 course.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
Conversation Cafe
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines

Activity purpose:

According to the Liberating Structures website, it 'engages everyone in making sense of profound challenges. It can be used to address difficult or confusing topics, build trust and share perspectives.'

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Collaborative Storytelling
by Jasmina Najjar

Activity purpose:

Promote a sense of community and break the ice in class with collaborative storytelling activities.

Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Collaborative Literature Review Matrix
by Jasmina Najjar

Activity purpose:

Create a discourse community whilst also sharpening close reading, research, summarising, paraphrasing, and citation skills.
Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

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Activity
9 Whys of Liberating Structures
by Michael Weinraub

Activity purpose:

Rapidly clarify for individuals and a group what is essentially important in their work (from here http://www.liberatingstructures.com/3-nine-whys/).

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face, Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Annotate the Syllabus
by Remi Kalir

Activity purpose:

Annotation is the addition of a note to a text. Syllabi are important texts in the lives of educators and learners. Yet a syllabus is an educator's draft vision of teaching yet enacted, a preamble to learning yet accomplished. To help learners read, make sense of, question, and discuss their course and learning, invite learners to annotate the syllabus. This activity is appropriate for online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses. This activity can occur both synchronously and asynchronously depending on the format of the course syllabus and the technology used for annotation. This activity is an informal, low-stakes means for students to connect with one another through their discussion of an important text - the syllabus.

Tech required: No tech needed
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

Reflective Activities

How can I integrate reflective activities to promote deep learning and self-awareness among students in higher education?

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Activity
Sailboat Retrospective for Reflection
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

To reflect in the middle or end of a group activity, project, experience, etc. 

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 30+ mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Live, Love, Learn and Leave a Legacy
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

  • Encourage students to reflect on students' personal values and goals.
  • Develop a sense of purpose and direction in their lives.
  • Think about how students want to live their lives, what they are passionate about, what knowledge and skills they want to acquire, and how they can make a positive impact on the world.
  • Motivate students to pursue careers and engage in activities that align with their values and passions, and that have the potential to make a positive difference in the world.
Tech required: No tech needed, Paper / pens
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: Variable

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Roses, Thorns, and Buds 
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Encourage students to reflect on the good, the bad and the potential. 

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Decolonising Academic Writing through Spoken Word Poetry
by Jenna Goddard, Carolyn Ives

Activity purpose:

The main purposes are to build community, build learner confidence in their writing, and encourage participants to integrate creative activities into their academic writing process.

Tech required: Shared online space, Microphones
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable
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Activity
Getting at Metaphor
by Felecia Caton Garcia, Heather Wright

Activity purpose:

This activity can be carried out at any point during an academic year and works well as a brainstorming or pre-writing activity. It encourages students to engage in different ways of seeing and experiencing things through metaphors. 

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable
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Activity
Checking in with GIF, Emoji or Meme
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

To check-in or reflect using visuals quickly at the beginning (warm-up) or end (reflection) of class.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Ikigai: Help Students Find Their Purpose
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

The purpose of the activity is to help learners reflect on their own strengths, passions, things they believe the world needs, and things they can themselves contribute constructively to the world.

Tech required: No tech needed, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Ice Cream / Broccoli: Reflection on Enjoyment and Value
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to invite reflection from participants/learners on what they consider enjoyable, what they consider valuable, and what activities/things they consider to be BOTH or NEITHER.

Tech required: Shared online space, Cameras off option
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Thick Greetings
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines, Laura Gibbs, Rebecca J. Hogue

Activity purpose:

To respect the dignity of each person by providing a slower, thicker, and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves (as described here).

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Simple Metacognitive Activities
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Help students develop metacognitive learning strategies, which refer to the ability to think about one's own thinking processes. By engaging in metacognitive activities, students can become more aware of their own learning processes, monitor their own progress, and ultimately become more independent and effective learners

Tech required: No tech needed
Asynchronous
Duration: < 5 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Tiny Demons / Drawing Monsters
by Lyse Edwards

Activity purpose:

Use a creative way to help students express/face their fears and see them differently.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Paper / pens
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Start / Stop / Continue
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Encourage students to look at what's working and what can be changed in a constructive manner that can lead to action.

Tech required: Shared online space, Polling tool, Cameras off option
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Pass the Paper
by Sarah Silverman

Activity purpose:

The purpose of the virtual Pass the Paper activity is for participants to have an opportunity to connect synchronously through writing rather than speaking.

Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Gratitude Journal
by Maha Bali, Nadine Aboulmagd, Hoda Mostafa, Azza Awwad

Activity purpose:

Support students' wellbeing by suggesting a daily or periodic practice of gratitude, promote radical self-compassion.

Tech required: No tech needed, Paper / pens
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Two-Minute Paper
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Capturing student learning or for use as a cool-down activity at the end of a class. It can be adopted to check students’ understanding after they have finished a reading, video or module.

Tech required: Polling tool
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Theatre of the Oppressed: Image Theatre
by Maha Bali, Alex Fink, Tina Pippin, Sarita Shukla

Activity purpose:

To invite students to use their bodies to represent, collaboratively, an image of something that is worth discussing, and then use the resulting 'tableau' combined as a source of critical reflection, and then invite participants to make changes to make the image different (e.g. if it is an oppressive situation, how can we make small modifications to make it more liberating?)

Tech required: Video conferencing, Cameras off option
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Spiral Journal
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora

Activity purpose:

Promote focus and reflection while allowing individuals to compose responses thoughtfully and calmly in writing. This can help generate and gather large amounts of data quickly and can amplify or punctuate large group interactions.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Paper / pens
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

Course feature image
Activity
Annotate the Syllabus
by Remi Kalir

Activity purpose:

Annotation is the addition of a note to a text. Syllabi are important texts in the lives of educators and learners. Yet a syllabus is an educator's draft vision of teaching yet enacted, a preamble to learning yet accomplished. To help learners read, make sense of, question, and discuss their course and learning, invite learners to annotate the syllabus. This activity is appropriate for online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses. This activity can occur both synchronously and asynchronously depending on the format of the course syllabus and the technology used for annotation. This activity is an informal, low-stakes means for students to connect with one another through their discussion of an important text - the syllabus.

Tech required: No tech needed
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

Setting the Tone Activities

What strategies can I employ in setting the tone activities to establish a supportive and inclusive learning environment for all students?

Course feature image
Activity
Fast Friends
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

This activity is inspired by Renee Hobbs, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Rhode Island, USA. It is a great warm-up activity that helps to build close connections between students.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins
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Activity
Learning to Love
by Felecia Caton Garcia, Heather Wright

Activity purpose:

Many educators are bringing discussions of self-care into the classroom, and using those discussions as a way to encourage skills for success in educational environments. This activity could be very helpful in setting the tone for that kind of care. Additionally, it could also be used as a community-building exercise, as everyone shares how broader concepts of love relate to their learning experiences (and vice versa). This activity can be used at any point during a term.

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins
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Activity
Checking in with GIF, Emoji or Meme
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

To check-in or reflect using visuals quickly at the beginning (warm-up) or end (reflection) of class.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Alternative Approaches to Grading
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Jasmina Najjar, Laura Gibbs, Clarissa Sorensen-Unruh, Arley Cruthers

Activity purpose:

Consider different approaches to grading and how they can affect the classroom atmosphere and more!

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Auditory Affect
by Heather Kretschmer

Activity purpose:

This activity gives students the opportunity to explore an auditory digital tool, tune into their feelings, reflect on the experience, and share their thoughts/feelings with a partner or small group.

Tech required: Music sharing
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
I Wish My Students / Teacher Knew
by Amena Magdy

Activity purpose:

This activity promotes both teacher and student wellbeing throughout the whole semester (beginning, middle and end). It helps you and students to connect as human beings and communicate effectively.

Tech required: Shared online space
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Survey Students Early in the Semester: Pre-Course Survey
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Get to know a little bit more about your students early on in the semester.

Tech required: Polling tool
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Gratitude Journal
by Maha Bali, Nadine Aboulmagd, Hoda Mostafa, Azza Awwad

Activity purpose:

Support students' wellbeing by suggesting a daily or periodic practice of gratitude, promote radical self-compassion.

Tech required: No tech needed, Paper / pens
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Third Places for Ongoing Community Building
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

This video was a recorded interview where Dave Cormier asked Maha Bali to give a recommendation for online learning during the pivot to emergency remote teaching during Covid-19.

Creating semi-formal, semi-synchronous spaces outside of formal class time for students to socialize with each other (and the teacher where possible) to address the socioemotional needs of students.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Teaching Ethics with Theatre of the Oppressed and Liberating Structures 
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Engage students in activities to discuss/explore ethical issues in structured ways that enable creative problem-solving.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 30+ mins

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Activity
Purpose to Practice
by Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

To co-develop a set of 'community guidelines' for the class with students, using a structured approach called Purpose to Practice which reminds us all that while guidelines are often lists of practices/behaviors that are acceptable/unacceptable in a certain context, they should always be rooted in the purpose behind them.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Meditation
by Nadine Aboulmagd

Activity purpose:

Opportunity for students and educators to relax before or after teaching.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Authentic Open Letter/Video Addressing Students

Activity purpose:

Setting a human-centered tone to your class from the beginning of the semester.

Tech required: Shared online space
Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: < 5 mins

Warm Up Activities

What warm-up activities can I utilize to energize and prepare students for meaningful participation in higher education classes?

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Activity
Origin Stories
by Felecia Caton Garcia, Heather Wright

Activity purpose:

This activity could be used as a community-building exercise, or even possibly an icebreaker, where students get to share more about themselves, in a new and different way. It engages students' creative and critical thinking through story, allowing them to recognise the degree to which 'origin' stories shape our understanding of the world, ourselves, others, teaching, and learning, etc., and recognising that sometimes we must write our own.

Tech required: No tech needed
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Guess The Topic Mingle
by Heather Kretschmer

Activity purpose:

This activity is a twist on the children's game 20 Questions for kids, in which a player reads clues one by one while the other players try to guess the person, place, or thing. This version is ideal for introducing a new topic in an educational setting. The instructor distributes the clues among the students who then interact with one another to exchange information and guess what the topic might be.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Auditory Affect
by Heather Kretschmer

Activity purpose:

This activity gives students the opportunity to explore an auditory digital tool, tune into their feelings, reflect on the experience, and share their thoughts/feelings with a partner or small group.

Tech required: Music sharing
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Creativity Booster: 16 Squares
by Diana Varma

Activity purpose:

The purpose of Creativity Booster activities is to offer a fun warm up with students at the beginning of each class. It acts as an ice breaker and helps get students' brains in gear for class and it generally ties into the lesson or has a purpose beyond the obvious.

There are different creativity boosters: some invite students to quiet and focus their minds, see '5 Senses', some invite students to discover feelings of empathy, see 'An Ode to the Left Hand', some invite students to get silly and quiet their inner critics, see 'Yes! Let's.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Paper / pens, Cameras off option
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Creativity Booster: An Ode to the Other Hand
by Diana Varma

Activity purpose:

The purpose of Creativity Booster activities is to offer a fun warm up with students at the beginning of each class. It acts as an ice breaker and helps get students' brains in gear for class and it generally ties into the lesson or has a purpose beyond the obvious.

There are different creativity boosters: some invite students to think visually, see '16 squares', some invite students to quiet and focus their minds, see '5 Senses', some invite students to get silly and quiet their inner critics, see 'Yes! Let's'.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Paper / pens, Cameras off option
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Creativity Booster: 5 Senses
by Diana Varma

Activity purpose:

The purpose of Creativity Booster activities is to offer a fun warm up with students at the beginning of each class. It acts as an ice breaker and helps get students' brains in gear for class and it generally ties into the lesson or has a purpose beyond the obvious.

There are different creativity boosters: some invite students to think visually, see '16 squares', some invite students to discover feelings of empathy, see 'An Ode to the Left Hand', some invite students to get silly and quiet their inner critics, see 'Yes! Let's'.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Cameras off option
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

Add Your Heading Text Here

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Activity
Creativity Booster: Yes, Let's!
by Diana Varma

Activity purpose:

The purpose of Creativity Booster activities is to offer a fun warm up with students at the beginning of each class. It acts as an ice breaker and helps get students' brains in gear for class and it generally ties into the lesson or has a purpose beyond the obvious.

There are different creativity boosters: some invite students to think visually, see '16 squares', some invite students to discover feelings of empathy, see 'An Ode to the Left Hand', some invite students to quiet and focus their minds, see '5 Senses'.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Cameras off option
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: < 5 mins

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Activity
Would You Rather?
by Frank Tontala

Activity purpose:

This activity can be used as an introductory, warm-up, or icebreaker. It can be used to start spirited debates and conversations about preferences and personal ideas. Additionally, it can be reused with the same group of students with no repetition.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Shared online space
Synchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: Variable

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Activity
Desert Island Songs
by Isabel Rodriguez

Activity purpose:

This activity is based on the popular British radio show Desert Island Discs, which asks famous people what music they would take with them to a desert isle. According to Peter McDonald, one of the contributors to the show, the purpose of the activity is for students to share their characteristics, express opinions, feelings, emotions, talk about likes/dislikes, converse about past experiences, and lead a discussion as a class. This music activity will help students to create and voice their feelings in a positive way.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Shared online space, Music sharing
Synchronous, Asynchronous
Mode of delivery: Hybrid
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
What Can You Do With A...?
by Noha El-Sebai

Activity purpose:

This engaging activity can be used as a warm-up before class. It is also particularly useful for language learners to help them recycle learned vocabulary, and enhance speaking skills in a light and humorous way.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Synchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Imaginary Buffet (or Potluck)
by Maya Hey

Activity purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to engage students with each other's 'small talk', by making a game out of active listening.

Tech required: Video conferencing
Synchronous
Duration: Variable

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Activity
PowerPoint Karaoke
by Maha Bali, Jasmina Najjar, Hoda Mostafa

Activity purpose:

Engage students in improv presenting, and enhance oral presentation skills in a light and humorous way.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Synchronous
Duration: Variable
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Activity
Lost in Translation
by Francesca Helm

Activity purpose:

Raising awareness of richness of language, creativity in language use (inventing words), multilingualism cultural meanings and connotations of words.

Tech required: Breakout rooms, Shared online space
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Thick Greetings
by Maha Bali, Mia Zamora, Autumm Caines, Laura Gibbs, Rebecca J. Hogue

Activity purpose:

To respect the dignity of each person by providing a slower, thicker, and more deliberate opportunity for everyone to introduce themselves (as described here).

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Shared online space, Cameras off option
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Tiny Demons / Drawing Monsters
by Lyse Edwards

Activity purpose:

Use a creative way to help students express/face their fears and see them differently.

Tech required: Video conferencing, Breakout rooms, Paper / pens
Asynchronous
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Pop-up Psychogeography Journey Journal
by Sarah-Jane Crowson

Activity purpose:

To inspire creative thinking and act as an ice-breaker.

Tech required: Breakout rooms
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
While We Wait
by Jasmina Najjar, Maha Bali

Activity purpose:

Make use of the 5-10 minutes before class time or if you give a break in the middle of class.

Tech required: Music sharing, On-screen annotation
Mode of delivery: Online
Duration: 5-30 mins

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Activity
Two by Three by Bradford
by Sarita Shukla

Activity purpose:

To get students focused and in sync with each other, concentrating on what their colleagues are doing.

Tech required: No tech needed
Mode of delivery: Online, Face to face
Duration: 5-30 mins