Setting clear expectations is crucial in online writing activities. Vague instructions can bring vague results. Asking students to ‘post any questions you may have’ to a discussion forum or a live session results in uneven engagement at best, digital tumbleweed at worst.
A 3:2:1 prompt helps students structure their responses to a lecture, text, audio track or video recording by asking them to describe, for example:
3 main points
2 interesting observations
A simple 3:2:1 structure has many benefits:
- provides clarity and structure, and can help kickstart discussions.
- informs students how to engage with learning content
- encourages close reading
- helps pose questions to increase students own learning, and that of their peers
- informs lecturers where there may be engagement issues, misconceptions or need for additional teaching
Other, discipline specific formats can be used:
3 words that capture the essence of a written piece
2 questions you would like to ask the author
1 metaphor, similie or analogy that expresses the essence of the writing
A critical thinking exercise based around a journal article might require students to produce:
3 points made in the article that you agree with and why
2 points in the article that you disagree with – and counter arguments challenging them
1 example of how the article author might respond to one of the counter arguments
or where some pre-seminar reading/viewing and preparation is required:
3 clarifying questions that the content does/does not address
2 questions that explore connections to previous learning
1 question that explores the implications of the author’s reasoning
Where to use this
- In Moodle discussion forums – particularly in Q&A forums where students cannot see posts by their peers until they themselves have posted something.
- As a breakout, buzz-group, or independent activity during a live MS Teams session
- In a Turnitin PeerMark activity, where students can apply it to the work of their peers
- In a Padlet activity
- In the comments section of Panopto videos
- In social annotation activities. We do not yet have a social annotation service in place but are piloting the use of Talis Elevate.