Solutions Lab 21: Ice breakers and team building activities for online teaching

If there is one thing we’ve learned from the Semester 1 experience, it’s that delivering live classes online is hard! Many of us have seen big improvements in attendance levels but does this make students feel more anonymous and dislocated? Is the challenge of getting students to interact, contribute and collaborate even greater?

In this session, Amir Homayoon (Homy) Ashrafzadeh (School of Science) explored how ice-breakers and team building exercises can be used online to help students feel more confident and connected in the virtual classroom. Homy has a wealth of experience in running active, team-based sessions in face-to-face contexts and he will describe how he has adapted some small group activities for his large course cohort. He reflected on both successes and failures to highlight the importance of being adaptable, creative and open with students.

The video below is an edited version of the webinar Homy conducted.  The group activity, technical glitches and Q&A have been removed.

Solutions lab 21 Slides

Activity – 3 Words was used to create the activity “3 words”, go to and enter 3 words that come to mind when you hear “COVID19”.

Here’s the word cloud generated by this activity.

Share your favourite icebreaker and/or team activity

Do you have a favourite icebreaker or team activity that you use with your students that you’d like to share. Go to   and type in your activity.

Here’s the responses generated by this activity.

Additional Resources

Solutions Lab Sessions

Icebreaker Activities


Episode 44 – Lecture Breaker Podcast & Show Notes.

Chad shares 8-10 strategies you can use in your synchronous and asynchronous courses to increase student engagement, connection, and participation.

He advocates for “connection before content” because when your students feel connected, heard, and seen, they are more likely to participate and be engaged.

Get the We cards and free video tutorials from the We and me website.

Need Help?

If you need help with MSTeams or Collaborate Ultra to please contact the SEH learning and teaching helpdesk: 

If you would like to discuss how best to incorporate icebreakers or what type of  team based activities to use for your course  please contact your School’s (ADG – LET) Academic Developer: