You can use shared documents in conjunction with Collaborate breakout rooms to allow students to work together and save their work. This can be useful for brainstorming, project work, icebreaker activities, Jigsaw cooperative learning, Think-Pair-Share and many other activities.
Whole class document
Create a document with instructions for the group work and headings for each of the different groups, and share it with all of your students. You can do this either by sharing with the module distribution list, or choose ‘Anyone at UWE with the link’ and give the link just to your students. You can put the link on Blackboard in advance, or paste it into the text chat in Collaborate before you start the breakout rooms.
While in the breakout rooms, students can record notes and ideas under their group heading. You will be able to see what each group is writing and identify any groups that may be struggling so you can visit their breakout room to give extra guidance. Note, however, that the students will be able to see other groups’ work as well. You might also have a space on the document for a plenary activity, to summarise and note extra points after the breakout rooms have been closed.
It is up to you what you do with the document at the end of the session. You could either keep it as an editable document, or change the permissions so that students cannot edit it further. Remember that if you delete it, it will no longer be available to the students you have shared it with. You may want to advise them to download their own copy if they wish to retain the notes long term.
Individual group documents
Students can also share files with each other. You can instruct them to nominate one person to create the document and share it with the other group members using their email addresses. This will prevent students from seeing what other groups are writing; useful if you are looking for each group to come up with their own answers to a set of questions, for example. Note that you can set up the individual documents yourself, but this will of course take a while if you have a large class. You can ask each nominated student to share with you in addition to their group members if you need to see what they are writing, or if you want to present each group’s ideas in a plenary.
As each document will be ‘owned’ by just one student in the group, you may again want to advise the other students to download their own copy if they want to keep the notes for the future.