Student Feedback on Use of Breakout Rooms
Keywords:breakout rooms, group learning, online teaching
The widespread use of video platforms has enriched and expanded options for synchronous learning for students attending class remotely including use of breakout rooms as a venue for peer-to-peer discussion. Although groupwork has long been used in face-to-face classes and there exists abundant research on its benefits, research on the use of breakout rooms as a venue for groupwork including students not physically in the classroom is scant. An end-of-term survey was administered to students in two classes taught using a HyFlex system where the instructor was physically present in the classroom with some students while other students participated remotely. Primary characteristics students liked about breakout rooms are that they facilitate student-to-student interaction, especially important during the pandemic, allow peer-to-peer learning and assistance, and keep student attention and interest. Primary characteristics noted as those disliked include lack of participation, that they can be awkward, and when they are poorly designed. Students found breakout rooms most productive when instructors provided clear guidance, students were held accountable for the conversation held in the breakout room, and all students participated.
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