[Tutorial] How to Design a Social Tagging Activity to Encourage Peer Recognition

This tutorial is part of the OpenLearning Activity Bank, which is a community initiative for showcasing, using, and remixing best practices in online learning design. Share your designs, join the community, and get access to more community-made templates at the end of this post.


What is social tagging?

Social tagging: In this activity, learners evaluate each others' work, then add tags to nominate impressive work. Tags are automatically compiled into a gallery of "good work" that can be viewed by anyone in the course. 

Here's a quick overview:


Why social tagging?

🧠 Pedagogical ideas explored:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition: Learners acknowledge each others' good work.
  • Evaluative judgment: Learners are able to judge what makes work “good”.

Related pillars of social learning ⓘ:

  • Social presencing: Growing an organic learning community with supportive relationships.
  • Crowdsourcing: Collecting information with, and from, your greatest resource: your learners.


When to use social tagging

1. Computer science: Nominate other learners' code for using good style.

A developer's code needs to be written consistently and adhere to industry standards. This makes it easier for other developers to understand and work with them in the future.

Social tagging helps to develop this skill. Learners can be assigned to work on coding projects and share their solutions as a post in the course. Other learners and the teacher can then tag posts that showcase good style. The tagged posts are then added to a gallery of nominated code, serving as examples and inspiration for future projects and lessons.

2. Graphic design: Co-curate a gallery of good designs evaluated by other learners. 

Designers need to be able to evaluate their work and see it from other points of view. This helps them to collaborate with others and communicate their ideas to clients. 

With social tagging, learners can tag to nominate a peer's design such as a poster or an infographic and give comments on why the design was chosen. The tagged posts are then added to a gallery, along with their comments, for everyone in the course to learn about how each viewer responded to the designs.

3. Creative writing: Giving peers recognition for good writing. 

Writing can be a highly personal experience, and writers can become demotivated especially if they feel that their work is going unnoticed or may be rejected.

Social tagging can provide creative writing students with the recognition and motivation to continue writing. In this scenario, learners can be given writing assignments which are posted to the course. Others can tag their favourite posts to show their appreciation, and the tagged posts also become a curated collection of quality work for everyone in the course to browse.


How to add social tagging to your course

1. Introduce the activity: Use a text widget to introduce social tagging. Let learners know that they will be evaluating and tagging their peers' work throughout the course. Provide a hashtag such as #goodwork or #nominated.

2. Create a guided practice: Use a gallery widget to display previous work done by the learners, so that they can attempt their first peer review. To do this, add a gallery widget and use the Setup tab to choose which posts to show in the section called "Show posts created from..."

3. Create a showcase page: Create a new page in the course and add a gallery widget to showcase all of the tagged posts. To automatically display all tagged posts, choose "Show posts created from all widgets in the course" and add your tag to the section called "Narrow down posts by tags".

⚡️ Quick Tip: The Feed widget works in the same way as the Gallery widget, so you can use it to get a different look and feel for your showcase page.


Try it yourself!

Your OpenLearning course comes ready with the tools that you need to easily design a social tagging activity. Let us know if you've tried using tags, galleries, and social tagging in your online course by leaving us a comment below.

We are keen to hear about other great ideas that you may have had for course design on OpenLearning! Contribute your activity ideas by clicking the button below. 

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Topics: Course Design Tips Tutorials

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