Exercise: Brainstorming

Summary of Example Activity

Students are assigned a topic or problem and work in assigned groups to explore solutions/answers. Brainstorming can be completed synchronously with video-conferencing software or asynchronously with a wiki, collaborative document or the forum feature in an LMS system.

Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Identify the important concepts from course material.
  • Explore how course topics are differently understood and experienced.
  • Demonstrate critical thought about the topic.
  • Develop online intercultural communication skills
  • Develop an understanding of how to work within different learning styles, regional/national perspectives and time zones.
  • Explore how the main concepts are differently understood and experienced (more pronounced if the students have different training or experience).

Materials and Data Needed

Students will prepare for the session by completing the assigned readings. In some cases it may be appropriate to prepare the students in each class with information about the collaborating student body (strengths, training, background, etc.).

Technology Needed

If the students will complete the brainstorming session synchronously, they will need access to video-conferencing software or instant messaging software and an internet connection. Asynchronous sessions require access to a wiki feature available on a Learning Management System such as Moodle or collaborative document.

Estimated Time

A synchronous brainstorming session would last approximately an hour. An asynchronous session can be opened over the course of a few days to a week to allow students the time to consider the material and post thoughtful work.


  1. Students are given the parameters of any session in which they are expected to participate.
  2. Students prepare by studying the appropriate subject material including proper interview methods, and by writing their interview questions.
  3. If the session requires asynchronous participation students are given access to the LMS wiki feature or asked to connect with their peers on the collaborative document or email. This should be done at least 1 week in advance to ensure that all students have the required hardware and software to participate and to allow time to troubleshoot any problems students may have with access.
  4. In the case of a synchronous discussion, students report to class as usual. In the case of an asynchronous discussion students are assigned to complete the brainstorming sessions in lieu of class or outside of scheduled class time.
  5. Students write a reflection on the activity and the solutions that the group arrived at.