I had a short lecture on how to enhance the interaction between students in on-line courses and I presented different solutions that I have used on this blog previously such as:

A also presented two examples on how you can use social media to create interaction between students.

Using Yammer to foster interaction in an online course

This course was an online course developed in collaboration with informatics. I was responsible for the development of the course. One of the areas we tried to improve was the social interaction between remote participants. For this, we used the social network Yammer that was used throughout the course (yammer was at the moment designed as a professional social network and is now owned by Microsoft and a part of the Office 365)

The whole course was designed to be read on distance, and without any physical meetings. Because many participants were working at the same time, all lectures were asynchronous and based on videos. Much of the interaction was based on the interaction between students after the lectures using Yammer discussions.

A typical Yammer assignment  
Students had to answer all Yammer assignments, and also be active in at least 40 discussions throughout the course. Yammer had a management tool where you could monitor the activity of each participant.
Yammer discussion
All students felt that this was a very good way to interact, and several students also expressed that they preferred this type of interaction because they had time to think and it was easy to find the information later on in the course. The teaching team spend quite much time to answer questions at the beginning of the course, after a while, the students was very active themself so questions and clarifications was often handled by the students themself.

Yammer as a hive mind

The Innovation Pilots programme sponsored by Vinnova top students from Luleå, Jönköping, Linköping, Umeå and Stockholm were selected to carry out an eight-week paid summer jobs in order to increase the innovation capability of enterprises and organizations. In the program, students were trained to use research methods in order to increase the innovation capability of enterprises and organizations. During the implementation, students worked at different companies and organisations and collaborated with the Yammer social network.
Using Yammer as a hive mind

All students appreciate social connectedness that the tool provided – students always received a flow of updates on what other teams were doing. Another advantage was the  ‘hive mind’ where help was always available.


It is quite easy to implement social tools into your education, one drawback is that some students may not be willing to use some social networks such as Facebook due to privacy issues. Therefore I think it is nice if we can provide a ‘professional’ tool that they only use as students and is not connected to their usual social networks.
Also creating a ‘hive mind’ really helps you out as a teacher because if you create a meaningful social environment they will interact and help other students.

How to enhance social interaction in on-line courses