Peer Engagement Online

Networking peer-to-peer

What is peer engagement online?

When students interact with each other in an online course, it creates a new dynamic and potential for deeper learning and engagement.

How is it accomplished?

In the traditional classroom, peer-reviewed papers and groupwork were methods for peer-to-peer interactivity. With courses online, this can still be accomplished through strategic forum design, synchronous/non-synchronous group projects, and even individual/group debate.

Though these instructional approaches aren’t usually associated with online courses, they can be implemented with tools available within USAonline.    

How can I do it?

There are multiple ways to connect peers for peer-to-peer engagement in an online course. A few examples include the following:

Creating forum prompts that ask for opinions on material can have students engage personally with the material as well as their peers
Having online group projects, via USAonline groups, can allow students to collaborate and focus on what they each can share individually
With tools like Zoom, students can interact as a whole and then section off into groups for more focused learning
USAonline offers peer-review options right into assignments, which can give students an idea of how their peers are performing, establish a standard among classes (as students often regard the opinion of peers in greater light), and promote learning through teaching.

Quality Matters Guidelines

Part of the Quality Matters guidelines (5.4) includes that when utilizing a peer-to-peer aspect in a course, clear explanations of what’s expected of the students in the assignment are necessary. Students need to know what’s expected of them and how they will accomplish the task at hand. Students also need to know the role of you as the instructor and how the process will be accomplished. (For more information on Quality Matters Guidelines, go to:


Peer Assessment HTG