Begin building community and connection among your online students by starting off the semester with an icebreaker using the Canvas Discussion tool. Icebreakers are an effective way to help students learn more about their classmates’ interests, goals, and personal lives. This can help students feel a human connection to the course and a sense of community, which research tells us is vital to the online learning experience. Below are three tried and true icebreaker activities to try early in the semester.
Think of one word that best describes you or your life. Then start an initial discussion post by stating this word in bold and describe why you chose that word. Post your initial response by Monday May 11 at 11:59pm. Then review peers’ posts and find someone whose word resonates with you. Reply to the post and explain your personal connection to the word. Try to find two other nouns that you both have in common. Reply to your classmate's post by Wednesday May 13 at 11:59 pm.
Take a Picture of….
Let’s learn a little bit about who is in this class. Take a picture to post and share with the class. Select one of the options below:
- Something in your room or on your desk
- A pet
- The view from your room or yard
- Your shoes or socks
Share a little about your picture and/or ask your classmates some questions such as “what breed of dog is Scooter?” Everyone’s initial post is due this Friday by 11:59pm. Respond to two of your classmates posts by Monday at 11:59pm.
(New) Favorite Thing
What have you recently discovered that has become one of your new favorite things? Cold brew coffee, yoga, a new television series? Post a picture of your new favorite thing and explain to your classmates what makes it so great. Don’t have a new favorite? Then go ahead and post about an old favorite. Everyone’s initial post is due this Friday by 11:59pm. Respond to two of your classmates posts by Monday at 11:59pm.
To speak with an instructional consultant about incorporating icebreakers in your online course, contact the LSA Learning and Teaching Technology Consultants by emailing LSATechnologyServices@umich.edu.