Mindmapping is a type of activity that allows students to work individually or collaborate with others to brainstorm and organize their thoughts on a topic. By participating in these activities, students are breaking out of a passive learning state and actively engaging with classmates and materials to form deeper connections with the content.


Mindmapping activities can be implemented to not only increase collaboration and active student engagement in a class, but to engage higher order thinking skills and to allow students to visually make connections between ideas.


For instructors, mindmapping allows for a view into students’ organizational thoughts behind how ideas are connected to one another and shows where feedback may be needed to redirect or frame topics in an alternative way. Students, on the other hand, can collaborate to produce maps of different concepts and ideas while gaining important insights from each other.


These activities are generally used as metacognitive tools at the beginning of a project or as a stand-alone assignment for students to connect prior knowledge to a topic they are learning; however, they can also be used as categorization assignment. Students can be separated into pairs or small groups to facilitate participation by all, or they can complete the concept map individually and share with classmates. Concept maps can be created using hard copy drawings or online using Google Jamboard where students can work collaboratively to form connections and organize their thoughts.

Strategies for High Enrollment Courses

For high enrollment courses, it may be easiest to make the assignments complete/incomplete; however, this type of grading does not provide substantial feedback for students. In this case, it may be helpful to share an exemplar mindmap and share some general feedback. An alternative is to have students review each other’s work through a peer review discussion. If some amount of grading is possible, consider assigning a concept map assignment to students in small groups, and have each group submit one product to reduce the number of items to grade.


Dr. Alyson Young and David Dillon, ANT4462: Culture and Medicine, Enrollment: 100+

Students complete a concept map individually displaying how societal factors impact different health topics. After creating a mindmap by drawing the diagram on paper, students then create a short presentation in VoiceThread that introduces themself to their group members and allows each student to talk through their diagram. Afterwards, students view their groupmates’ presentations and provide feedback.

Grading strategies 

Students are graded based on their Voicethread presentation and interaction. In the presentation the student must show that all required content has been included within their concept map, and their presentation must follow the requirements set forth in the assignment rubric.