Establishing and maintaining valuable levels of supportive and productive student-faculty engagement can be challenging in any learning environment, but particularly in the asynchronous online setting. Research suggests that positive interactions between educational personnel and students increase overall student persistence in goal attainment.
To enjoy a more fulfilling and interactive online teaching experience, where your students stay actively engaged throughout your online courses, try implementing these strategies:
Cultivate higher-level thinking skills with the following tools:
- Audio and/or visual content
- Projects: Encourage students to get up, go out, and collect practical skills
- Reality–based scenarios
- Graphic novels
- Video: face-to-face
- Timely participation: Set multiple deadlines for a module
Facilitate Dynamic Online Discussions:
- Create smaller groups of students for the course duration.
- Create new leaders for each discussion board. Have these leaders develop relevant questions and lead the discussion.
- Select mediators to keep discussions moving and intervene in heated entries.
- Engage in discussions to demonstrate interest in student contributions, pose questions, and suggest areas to explore.
- Employ audio in addition to text.
- Use videos such as TED Talks, YouTube or create your own.
- Try other formats like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram to gain their participation or add variety.
Encourage a Collaborative Learning Environment:
- Urge students to share experiences and perspectives in and out of the discussion board.
- Set a few shared tasks.
- Identify and praise collaboration efforts.
Create a Safe, Comfortable Environment:
- Respond to issues/problems quickly.
- Provide opportunities for optional synchronous (real-time) online meetings outside of the online classroom.
- Address challenges to understanding and engagement with tailored materials.
- Allow students to get a sense of you by bringing your personality into the course.
- Model the engagement you wish to see.
Utilizing the above ideas will allow you to create a dynamic and productive online learning environment and will go a long way in keeping students enrolled and successful in your online courses. For more online engagement tips, review our top 9 strategies for personalizing online discussion forums.