Create a Fake Photo Group Assignment
For students to collaborate, get creative, and produce something that helps them feel closer to one another.
Somewhere between the beginning and middle of the semester, have students do something light and fun, while learning new skills and taking a small step towards building community.
- Explain to students that their assignment is to work together in small groups to create a fake photo where all of the group members appear to be in the same location - but the reality is they have never been in that location together before.
- Check-in with students what kind of photo editing experience they have, and let them know this kind of editing is really simple with some photo editing apps on the phone, or simple apps like Paint or PowerPoint or Google slides and that the Remove Background tool helps a lot.
- Give students time (in class, or asynchronously) to work together to create the photo.
- Make time for students to share their group photos with each other and give feedback, perhaps voting on the most creative, most realistic, etc.
About half an hour or so for students to create the photos, and then depending on class and group size, about 3-5 minutes for each group to share how they created theirs.
Adaptations and examples
- The main idea here is for students to use photos of themselves, which is a lot of fun, and really good if they're used to having cameras off during synchronous meetings, it allows them to see each other as full-bodied human beings. The resulting photos can make them look as if they were together.
- However, you can also do this activity with something other than their own photos. E.g. they can choose a photo of a famous person and put them somewhere they are unlikely to be.
- You can use this assignment to discuss "fake news" (how easy it is for someone to falsify a photo or evidence), copyright (how to choose openly licensed images for the background), etc. You can also teach about "color contrast checker" and about using "alt text" for images for people with visual impairment.
Minimal - just that students would have simple photo editing software - much of which is free or easily available.