Teaching online can be challenging for both instructors and students. How do you design a course that is flexible enough to meet the needs of adult online students, and still maintain high expectations and adherence to keeping on schedule with assignment due dates, etc.? How do you engage an adult student who may, or may not be, as motivated to fully engage in an online course for one reason or another?
Looking for some ideas (not answers), here are some suggestions:
From: Top 5 Online Student Engagement Strategies, by Patrick Patterson
- Microcast (short podcast of no more than 5 minutes)
- Give Feedback
- Admit Mistakes
From: Faculty Focus Special Report: Online Student Engagement Tools and Strategies, found here:
- Change graphics on the course site
- Offer choices, i.e., two choices for each discussion and students choose which one they want to participate in--of course, they can participate in both if they choose.
- Establish and populate an "extra resources" section in your course.
- Utilize social networking activities: Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Del.icio.us, YouTube
- Free technologies can be incorporated into an online course: Concept maps, podcasts, voice over PowerPoint, video clips, etc.
- Establish a calendar of course assignment milestones
- Team debates
of the (virtual) classroom and that instructor interaction, both inside and outside of the classroom, is equally critical in promoting student engagement. When interaction is done correctly, students can reflect on the class experience. Self reflection is a strategy that helps to cement the learning--students can see how it all comes together and make sense of it all.
What strategies do you use as an online instructor to engage your students? Go!
Peggy Steinbronn, Ed.D.