3. Be hive-minded


As social animals, humans enjoy learning with others. Being ‘hive-minded’ means providing opportunities for students to learn cooperatively, interact with one other, and share their knowledge, opinions and experiences.


For many students being part of a community is an integral part of their university experience. Providing opportunities for students to collaborate online can help prepare our graduates for the modern workplace. Hattie (2009) cites numerous studies that show cooperative learning increases student achievement.


Before your course starts

Near the beginning of your course

  • Prioritise building rapport with your students.
  • Establish and communicate course guidelines or norms, co-created with your students where possible. For example, get students to describe their ideal learning environment in one or two adjectives then present this as a word cloud.
  • Facilitate an icebreaker activity to allow students to share something about themselves (e.g. ‘the reason I’m taking this course is…’, ‘something that others might find surprising about me is…’). You might use Moodle’s forum.

During the course

  • Synchronous activities (like Zoom meetings using breakout rooms) offer the opportunity for students to come together and share knowledge and experiences in pairs or small groups. These may or may not be lecturer-facilitated. (See liberating structures). Note that students may prefer using the chat box or audio over video, even in small group discussions.
  • Consider setting up pair or group tasks (assessed or not). Students could use Google Docs to collaborate.
  • Forums offer many possibilities for the hive-minded lecturer. For example, you could invite students to:
    • share experiences or ideas
    • choose and discuss readings in a virtual book club
    • solve problems collaboratively
    • give a video presentation and then pose questions to each other.
  • Offer students opportunities to peer assess each other’s work, e.g. using Moodle workshop. (It can be qualitative or quantitative feedback.)
  • Use Moodle Groupings to create different sized groups with different makeups for different types of activities (e.g., discussion forum, specific assignment).

Additional resources