3-Minute Message

As a closing technique for class, students create a 3-minute message (3MM) to synthesize the material and explain it to their partner. 3MM are posted online, and students vote for the most effective message. (This can be facilitated in Canvas by turning on “liking” discussion posts.)

The top 5 3MM are shown during the next class (for courses with synchronous sessions) or are analyzed in a second discussion forum (for fully asynchronous courses) as a brief follow-up assignment:

  • Discussion option: Have students share why they voted for these 3MMs. What made them stand out? Did any important points get left out?
  • Reflective assignment option: Ask students to answer these questions: How does the explanation help us understand the topic in a broader, societal way? How does this material relate to you and society in a relevant way? (Note that I’ve italicized the word “society” in these questions because they were originally provided by an Anthropology professor; you could reframe these questions for a different discipline.)

Why It Works

3MM not only provides a way to connect conversations between class sessions but also builds in both feedback and reflection/analysis in one activity. It also provides an authentic way to track participation.

Potential Pain Point

If you have a high-enrollment course, you’ll have a lot of 3MM! The time required to read them will be significant for students, and if you grade the activity, it’ll be a lot of work for you. Therefore, you may instead want to divide students into small groups to read each other’s 3MM, then have them present their top option as a group to the entire class.

Original source: Corina Kellner, Department of Anthropology, Northern Arizona University, as cited in Eleven Alternative Assessments for a Blended Synchronous Learning Environment, by Samantha Clifford, October 26, 2020, Faculty Focus.