If you are reading any commentary on online learning these days, you cannot read two sentences without bumping into the phrase student engagement. Student engagement happens when students take an active, purposeful step towards their own learning. The challenge for online instructors is to find ways to make their courses promote student engagement.
Here are five suggestions for "engagifying" your online course:
1. Put yourself in the course.
One great way to promote engagement and get the students to know you is to make sure that “you” are in your course. Uploading a digital photo, providing a welcome video, and using multimedia elements to introduce assignments are just a few examples.
2. Invite students to be copilots on their learning journey.
In much the same way you can personalize the course for your students, your students can establish a social presence and take ownership of their learning journey. They do so by uploading their photo, using audio/video tools and building a network of learning within your online course. They can also be content builders when it comes to providing useful content in the online course with wikis, discussions and other interactive tools.
3. Have your students get “pushy.”
Push notifications are everywhere these days, prompting your students to interact with their work, friends and world around them. Blackboard allows students and instructors to enable push notifications to mobile devices to offer reminders about due dates and to interact with each other and the course. Push notifications prompt you and your students to interact and to become engaged with the learning process.
4. Provide academic and technical instructions.
When setting up courses, faculty members usually give students the academic logistics around their course work. But in many cases, a major disconnect can develop for students who don’t know how to use the software tool to submit the assignment. So you may want to consider providing students with a one- or two-sentence “how-to” for instructions on uploading or participating in the course activity.
5. Broaden your portfolio when it comes to course activities.
Does your weekly activity look suspiciously like reading, discussion, assignment, and quiz... every week? You can liven up your course by adding new or different tools. For example, instead of a reflection paper, consider having your students do a blog post instead.
For more information, see the SHSU Online blog.