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Design great tasks

The task feature can be used in many ways - like a forum, wiki, or blog post. The most important types of tasks to add to courses in groups are:

  • a space to make introductions and discuss learning goals
  • tasks with specific activities and contributions that lead into the next
  • final tasks that allow participants to complete the study group or course (that can lead to badges)

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Task Discussion

  • HERIBERTO RANGEL   Feb. 4, 2013, 9:25 a.m.

    Hey people what is happening the last comment was in 2011???...anyone still here???

  • Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 12:15 p.m.

    I'm having trouble creating engaging tasks for my course

    There's certainly a lot of interest in the course, but no one seems to be starting discussions or posting work.

  • Jessica Ledbetter   June 3, 2011, 12:18 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 12:15 p.m.

    It is "under development." Maybe they aren't receiving updates?

  • Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 12:56 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Jessica Ledbetter   June 3, 2011, 12:18 p.m.

    I will take it back out of development if this is the case

  • AJC   June 3, 2011, 1:01 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 12:15 p.m.

    Perhaps adding specific timelines/due dates to tasks (that aren't guidance pages) would help.

    Invite your participants to review timeline/goals and give feedback on what they are willing to accomplish.

  • Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 1:13 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AJC   June 3, 2011, 1:01 p.m.

    We have an interesting list of ideas, goals, and experiences shared on our sign-up page... what I need to figure out is how to encourage people to participate on tasks so we can get to those goals.  Maybe we can run another chat and get more input.

    I ran a course on old P2PU in January-March and I feel as though it was easier for people to ask questions and share comments on that site.   I don't feel like a study group is about tasks; it should be about topics or subjects or something.

  • AJC   June 3, 2011, 1:21 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Nicholas Doiron   June 3, 2011, 1:13 p.m.

    Agreed that study groups should be about topics and subjects, and learning them together.

    "Task" is the name we chose for the feature that lets you create a page that can act as a forum/wiki/blog. It's really open-ended and you can be creative with it.

    Perhaps scheduling another chat with your participants to set some goals in terms of timeline/completion and scheduling meetings in between would be helpful.

  • Pippa Buchanan   May 3, 2011, 7:28 a.m.

    Within the Blogging and Writing on the Web study group I'm trying to make it very clear that everyone in our group has the power to create tasks and to improve existing tasks. Of course, many tasks are going to be more formal, but it is important to encourage participants to hack and improve task ideas and wording.

    I think that it's also important to describe how participants should respond to a task. A task requiring that participants read a paper is very basic, and doesn't encourage specific behaviours. A task that asks users to read and pay attention to certain themes, blog a brief reflection on their thoughts and to share that blog post provides far more guidance to those attempting the task.

  • AJC   May 3, 2011, 1:15 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pippa Buchanan   May 3, 2011, 7:28 a.m.

    I agree. Tasks that have an action requiring reflection or production and then sharing back is much better than an open-ended assignment.

    Many previous group organizers have found this to be true, and highly recommend development of rich tasks.

    How can we encourage participants to improve tasks in their study groups?

  • Pippa Buchanan   May 5, 2011, 5:52 a.m.
    In Reply To:   AJC   May 3, 2011, 1:15 p.m.

    We can provide good examples for one - but what would be a nice feature would be a page that aggregates all new tasks across P2PU and puts them up for review by the broader community and to allow "like" type approval and further comments. Highly rated and recommended tasks would be more prominent and could be used to guide task creators.

    We'd  also need to be able to leave comments as non-participants though - probably non-participants shouldn't be able to edit a task itself.

    A simpler first-pass response would be to pre-populate the main task text-box with descriptive text about writing tasks / to include more

    • provide instructions as to how participants should respond to this task. Do they need to post a short answer reflecting on the experience? Do they need to share an image or a URL?
    • Clarify why you're including the task and how it relates back to the broader group goals "This reading provides valuable background knowledge on the topic" / "Learning to warm-up your voice will make it easier to yodel"
    • Give guidelines about how long this activity might take or how long the minimum response is:

      • warm-up for 15 minutes
      • write a minimum of 100 words in response to this article.
  • AJC   May 5, 2011, 1:04 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Pippa Buchanan   May 5, 2011, 5:52 a.m.

    Aggregating new tasks for community review --> a study group space created for review would be excellent.

    By school would be even better.

  • Stian Haklev   May 5, 2011, 4:28 p.m.
    In Reply To:   AJC   May 5, 2011, 1:04 p.m.

    To me, a task, and a discussion topic, are different, but right now there is no division between these. I don't think it makes sense to say that a course should only have tasks - it might make more sense for certain study groups to have more of a traditional discussion group approach -- perhaps we are reading a number of different readings, but we don't want the discussion about each reading to be under each reading, but rather in topical discussion groups, etc. I am just concerned that the task interface becomes more and more specialized in ways that might not be suitable for things intended solely as discussion starters.


  • AJC   May 9, 2011, 12:05 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Stian Haklev   May 5, 2011, 4:28 p.m.

    I would love to see the "task" function diversify for forums, meetings and syllabus space. Implementing this would be more about process and defining the distinct differences between these actions.

    What do you think?

  • Pippa Buchanan   May 14, 2011, 10:10 a.m.
    In Reply To:   AJC   May 9, 2011, 12:05 p.m.

    Definitely, I think that even within tasks there are particular activities that we can help promote - I mentioned on the Dev list the idea of using icons to help identify what types of activity a task involves. eg. a book icon for a reading focussed task, two faces for a meeting or debate etc etc.

  • AJC   May 14, 2011, 11:35 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Pippa Buchanan   May 14, 2011, 10:10 a.m.

    Iconography could be a cool riff on the task feature. It would make a whole lot of sense. What would the first batch of icons include?