Team-based learning in an online environment can help educators conduct engaging classes online while providing same level of engagement as in face-to-face setting. 


Team-Based Learning in Online Modality - FAQs

We have recorded and answered several frequently asked questions from our customers and workshops. Here’s what TBL educators are asking about online TBL.


Q1. What is a synchronous online Team-Based Learning class setting? 

Synchronous online TBL is a modality where the educator and the learners are not physically co-located, however they are virtually connected through web-based video or non-video conference at the same time. Typically, learners and educators connect online at specific periods each week.


Q2. What are the technological requirements for conducting TBL online?

  1. Web conferencing software with capability for team breakout rooms

  2. A TBL software

  3. Laptop, computer, smartphone or tablet with a stable internet connection


The online session typically connects learners using web video conferencing software and a TBL system, such as InteDashboard. A key criterion for the software is the ability to break participants into teams. Tools such as BigBlueButton ( Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom ( have this capability.


Q3. What information do you need to provide to students before conducting your first online TBL class? 

Provide your students with basic course requirements and curricular content, which includes:

  •  Understanding of the core course content

  •  Overview of the course objectives and learning objectives for each course module

  •  Brief description of the learning activities associated with completing the course successfully


Provide your students' answers about the basic technological requirements: 

  • What is the time and effort it takes to successfully complete an online course?

  • What are the technical skills required to function successfully in an online course?

  • How can I obtain access to software and hardware required for participation in an online course?

  • How can I obtain the capacity to achieve effective communication with the instructor?

  • How will I gain the ability to achieve effective communication with fellow students?


Q4. How many students can I teach in my class in an online environment?

You can as many students you want on InteDashboard. Zoom allows you to add a maximum of 300 participants for a module. But ideally what we have seen is that it is easier to manage class size up to 100 students in an online environment. Online TBL is easy to implement with a batch size of fewer than 50 students. But we have educators who use it for the batch size up to 100 students. The only cumbersome part is to create breakout rooms on Zoom.

Some institutions limit their online classes to sections of 30 or 40 students to create a more engaging environment.


Q5. What is the ideal team size for the online TBL environment? 

What we and many other educators have found is that the ideal team size should be 3-4 to promote engagement and discussion during team activities and build team cohesion.  This is smaller than an in-person TBL modality where 5-7 is more common.


Q6. Can I use my learning management system to conduct IRAT and TRAT? 

You can use various tools to conduct IRAT as it is an individual assignment and easier to manage. But for TRAT, a TBL software such as InteDashboard allows teams to submit answer responses and provides immediate feedback. It automatically grades teams based on the number of attempts taken to arrive at the right answer. Also, teams can submit clarification requests electronically and the educators receive them in real-time.


Q7. What factors do you need to keep in mind when choosing a web conferencing system?

A comparison of the technical qualities of the systems such as Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate is important. Some concerns that educators have is how students will use the excuse of "my computer kept dropping out of the system" for not participating. Do some systems have more difficulty in maintaining high-quality technical connections?

What we and other educators have found is that high-availability systems are paramount for a good online experience for everyone involved. 

Web conferencing systems have become better, but bandwidth can be a challenge depending on where your participants access. Some educators tend to take communication down from video (high bandwidth) to text chat (low bandwidth - that is if the connection is poor degrade to text chat. Text chat can be quite practical especially for people on smartphones


Q8. How does InteDashboard compare on IRAT and TRAT feature with the quiz feature of Blackboard Collaborate or Zoom Poll Analytics?

  • Zoom and Blackboard Collaborate do not provide immediate feedback on TRAT. InteDashboard provides immediate feedback to the teams.

  • Blackboard Collaborate quizzes do not provide incremental scoring. Educators find it difficult with quiz functions generally to get points for first, second, third attempts in the TRAT. On InteDashboard, the teams get automatically graded on the number of attempts to get to the right answer (incremental scoring)

  • It would be harder to aggregate the results and submit these clarification requests per question in Blackboard Collaborate and Zoom. Clarification requests can be easily submitted electronically on InteDashboard and educators can analyze those requests in real-time.

  • Zoom has polls but you don't get the analytics. If you use the RATs for summative assessment you need individual results e.g. in a grade book type function, which you can easily get on InteDashboard


Q9. What are the various video conferencing tools that can be used for online TBL?

Zoom, Adobe Connect & Blackboard Collaborate.  Not all web conferencing tools have breakout rooms functionality. Zoom has breakout room functionality.


Q10. Can students do the TRATS on their own time without a faculty present?

Yes, Teams can do TRATs on their own time, if the educator sets up the TRAT asynchronously on InteDashboard.


Q11. How much time would it take to get a TBL system up and running? 

InteDashboard can easily be integrated with your existing LMS. It just requires a plug-in which can be set up in minutes, allowing educators and students to sign-in from within their LMS. Essentially, a TBL system can be up and running in minutes. However, it will take educators some time to set up their course content and question bank to the InteDashboard system.


Q12. How many people do I need on the backend to conduct TBL classes online effectively? 

We recognize that five roles need to be thought about to conduct effective TBL sessions:

  1. Web conference host

  2. TBL system (or LMS) coordinator

  3. Facilitator

  4. Subject matter expert

  5. Project manager


For smaller classes or teacher and students familiar with online TBL, one educator can take on all these roles.  However, for educators or students new to online TBL it may help to have an additional person to coordinate the web conference tool and can address any technical issues.


Q13. Can InteDashboard be integrated with Zoom or any other web conferencing application? 

Yes, InteDashboard can be integrated with Zoom allowing you to invite all your students to join for the online TBL session.


Q14. How often should I conduct peer evaluation? Does InteDashboard allows to setup peer evaluation for students and teams?

We typically see more frequent peer evaluation in online TBL (generally every few weeks).  This can be done with InteDashboard.