Collaborate, Present, Flip and Evaluate

Concurrent Session 4
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Participants will learn tips for developing group projects and presentation delivery in an asynchronous environment using online presentation tools, video hosting, and survey tools. Case study data will demonstrate how integrated, and freely available tools combined with your LMS will promote meaningful learning experiences, and promote positive peer review engagement


As an instructional technologist I have the privilege of collaborating with some of education and industry's brightest minds in course design and supportive technologies.

Extended Abstract

After this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Evaluate whether or not their group assignment is in fact group work.

  2. Identify and employ hosting environments for student presentations.

  3. Construct digital assessments for peer evaluation using freely available tools

  4. Schedule and facilitate a student focused web conference question/answer session


Participants will be able to achieve these goals through a case study walkthrough, access to handouts/links used in the project, and audience participation through the use of a polling software, such as


Students dislike group work whether it is facilitated in a face to face classroom or online. However, positive group experiences have shown that students can practice and master a host of professional skills that they can then apply in the real world and will also reinforce knowledge and skills that are relevant to their coursework.

For the instructor, one main benefit is being able to assign more complex, authentic problems to groups than they could to individuals, since groups can distribute workload between members. This may introduce more unpredictability in the results, as groups approach tasks and solve problems differently, but this can also be refreshing for students in a distance learning environment where peer interaction is limited.

At Northwestern University it is common for group work to be assigned in the brick and mortar setting. However, with completely online courses, the translation to online can be difficult. In addition, the assessment of online group work can also be challenging. The Distance Learning Department of the School of Professional Studies had been faced with this issue on multiple occasions.

Up to this point, faculty would schedule and host a three-hour web conference for the presentation of projects, plus the question and answer sessions. A faculty member may also have to coordinate multiple sessions to accommodate special situations, and also would be expected to troubleshoot technology foibles on the spot for various participants who would be screen sharing. Time spent managing technology struggles and personal issues always detract from the quality of student engagement, and are often the argument against group work.


We will share how this problem was solved for a class that was originally face to face and was transitioned to online. The class included a group project as a final assessment that included a live presentation and written paper in support. In the course of working with the professor, brainstorming ideas and developing this course, we found that an online solution could be achieved.

While researching the concept of the existing online group project and how to assess, we found that most universities used a singular method, either peer review or instructor feedback. Also, the group presentations would be recorded live, but only to the benefit of the professor for viewing and grading. Lastly, we saw that many schools gave students an activity and called it group work when really it was something students could do individually. As we went through this research, and the instructor’s assignment instructions, we found that many of the techniques and strategies could be combined using freely available digital tools into an online group project presentation and evaluation process.

The process we developed combines online presentation tools with web conference software, video hosting environments, and digital forms/surveys.  By combining these tools with a process for review, students are able to be creative using familiar technologies, and be engaged in each other’s projects through peer assessment. And rather than having to facilitate an elongated presentation session plus question and answer, the instructor was freed up to observe student work, rather than manage it, and ultimately moderate an engaging student led discussion that promoted meaningful learning experiences and positive student interactions in the online collaborative environment.

We will be discussing the following aspects of the online solution developed, that can be replicated by audience members at their institution:

  • Online presentation tools accessible for students use

  • Digital assessment tools for peer evaluation of presentations

  • Video hosting platforms

  • Instructor led web conference sessions

Lesson Learned: We will discuss what we learned/observed during this process including, but not limited to:

  • Student and instructor time was not as heavily impacted

  • Student participation during the web conference

  • Instructor technology level