Perpetual Canon: Literature Circles in World Literature

Submitted by Erin Blomstrand on

In ENH202: World Literature after the Renaissance I utilized Literature Circles as a method for creating stronger community in online classes, deepening the engagement between students, and practicing group work in prep for the course final. Students were in 3 groups for 4 weeks at a time, each group given additional readings to read, analyze and report out using the Literature Circles roles. The student in the Connector role would collect the student’s work and post it in Canvas for grading and students would switch roles on their own each week. At the end of each four-week period, students used the evaluation sheet to grade group members. At first, students struggled with the concept and assignment requirements but then they caught on. Each week a few students who didn’t get their work to the Connector in time for the Connector to post, and ended up posting on their own. Feedback indicated: (a) students liked the assignment because it allowed them to exchange ideas with their peers; (b) students felt the assignment allowed them to get help from their peers; and (c) the assignment did create a more traditional F2F discussion environment in the online format.

Completed Full Cycle
Course Number
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)


Peter Turner Fri, 02/12/2016 - 6:42pm

Erin - First, I love your experimentation to increase student engagement in a collaborative process! Second, why is this not closing the loop, at least in proving social efficacy of cooperative learning? You wanted to improve community in the class, initiated literature circles to do so, and saw measurable increases (by survey) in several areas. I submit in that light you closed the loop! Well done, especially considering this was in an online format. I struggle with groups online, and will tap your knowledge about how to do so!

Olga Tsoudis Sun, 02/14/2016 - 11:10am

Hi Erin, This is a detailed and thoughtul way to create engagement in the online courses. For the feedback, did you have a separate survey? I did not see how you got to the feedback results. Thanks! Olga

Erin Blomstrand Tue, 02/16/2016 - 10:41am

Hi Olga. Yes, I did ask students to complete a survey. I added the survey questions. Unfortunately, I don't have the numbers because they were in Canvas and the assignment isn't accessible any longer. I'll try to capture numbers Fall 2016. Erin