Using Structured Teams to Develop Social Presence in Asynchronous Chemistry Courses
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Structured collaborative peer teams are widely recognized as a high-impact pedagogy that supports learning outcomes for diverse learners but it can be difficult to implement this pedagogy in an online environment. This communication describes a structure to use collaborative teams to develop and sustain a community of inquiry in an asynchronous online environment. Courses were designed to support the individual learner by developing strong peer-to-peer learning in teams. We describe how asynchronous teams were structured and what specific activities (cognitive and instructor-based) helped teams work effectively through the term. This practice was applied in two different environments—a first-year course at a two-year community college and a first-year lab sequence at a four-year university. At both institutions, student reflections described how teams supported learning and allowed development of process skills. Our results suggest that structured teams can support student learning in asynchronous classes at a wide range of institutions.