Let’s Get (Inter) Personal: Using Role-Play and Web-Conferencing to Assess Effective Communication Skills

Concurrent Session 2

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

How do we know our online students have the necessary interpersonal communication skills to be effective professionals? Can we develop activities to assess these skills in the online classroom using web-conferencing tools? This session will answer these questions, as well as allow attendees to make applications in their own discipline.


I've worked in K-12, Higher Ed, and Online Program Management for the past 14 years. My passion is teaching and I have been fortunate to do so in the classroom at several levels, as well as online. I especially enjoy the opportunity to work with Higher Ed institutions and build new relationships through the development of high-quality online programs.

Extended Abstract

Regardless of the profession we are preparing our students for, they need the ability to engage in productive dialogue, collaborate, and establish meaningful relationships. However, assessing these skills in the online classroom gets a little tricky. With the help of synchronous activities via web-conferencing tools, we can get a clearer picture.

Designing role-play or scenario-based activities provide an engaging experience for students. But how can you do this online? The use of web-conferencing tools provides a great way to use these activities online. Additionally, these activities can be recorded and used as an opportunity for peer-review. Finally, this method allows faculty to evaluate the nuances of interpersonal processes among their students – tone, demeanor, posture, vocabulary, etc.

The goals of this session are to:

  • Demonstrate an intentional and purposeful way to incorporate synchronous opportunities into learning activities, thereby developing a more powerful experience for students.
  • Demonstrate how this type of activity can help faculty assess their students on the development of effective interpersonal skills and overall understanding of the concept being taught.

A faculty member will share an example of a synchronous online role-play which focuses on conflict resolution. Then, we will turn the attention to you. Do you currently have a role-play assignment in your course? Can you think of how to incorporate one? Be ready to share (and get some great ideas), as we will ask you to brainstorm about how you might use role-play or similar team-based assignments in your online course. This session will give you some strategies to take into your class from both a pedagogical and technological perspective.