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Promoting Engagement in Online Courses

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Student Engagement?




Student Engagement is important in any class, and has even greater significance in the online learning environment where students are not only isolated from their instructor and fellow students, but also must have the discipline and responsibility to put off distractions that might take up or limit their time dedicated to the online course.



Why should We Promote Student Engagement?


Online education is well established in Academia, however the effectiveness of student engagement remains very uncertain. Many instructors who conduct online courses are lacking in the instructional design department and as a result are unable to achieve high levels of student engagement within their online course. In order to promote student engagement in online courses Instructors need to be effective in incorporating technology as Learning Tools. If instructors are able to accomplish this, they can expect to achieve enhanced student engagement within their online course.



Instructors must plan in order to promote Engagement!



Examples of Incorporating Technology in Online Courses to Promote Student Engagement:


Conventional wisdom suggests that engaged and relational learning is far more likely to grow out of a learner-centered (rather than a teacher-centered) instructional environment. “Teacher-student interactions have traditionally been validated more than peer interaction in a learning scenario, presumably because the teacher is the expert and the more experienced participant. The reality of the situation, however, is that learners are affected by the utterances of their peers” thus, online learning environments should be designed to facilitate social activities that allow exploration of individual histories and values. Technologies traditionally used to promote learner-centered engagement and peer interaction include discussion boards, chat sessions, blogs, wikis, group tasks, and peer assessment (Revere, 2011).



The biggest drawback to online education is keeping the student engaged throughout the course or instruction. Using various models of pedagogy to promote a social presence deters the student from feeling neglected or frustrated in the learning model. It is imperative for the teacher to command a presence online just as if this was a face to face classroom. For a student to feel engaged in online learning; there needs to be a handshake of learning from student to teacher to student again. 


The following student driven content mechanisms help foster learning, while promoting online student engagement:











Tips On How To Eliminate the Disengaged Online Student



10 easy tips to help instructors promote online engagement:


1. Call/Text Students
2. Require Regular Logins
3. Act on Report Data
4. Create Meaningful & Relevant Assignments
5. Explain Your Expectations
6. Assess Online Learning Readiness
7. Time Management Training
8. Assignment Variety & Ownership
9. Add a Live Element
10. Personalize Communication



How Do You Know When An Online Course is Promoting Student Engagement?



If the online course stays consistent with these 3 steps then its well on its way in promoting  student engagement:


  1. Integrates active learning environments with authentic learning tasks;
  2. Fosters a personal connection with the class (teacher-student as well as student-student); and
  3. Facilitates the process of learning in an online environment. 



To promote a sense of community and foster a teacher-student connection, the instructor can make use of video blogs. The videos can be introductions to the instructor or to new modules and assignments. Watch the following example:



To know more about how a sense of community( teacher-student and student-student connection) affects the success in online courses read the following article:

The Role of Community in Online Learning Success




As the volume of online content and the availability of technology continues to grow, online educators need up-to-date information about how to effectively integrate both online content and technology in their courses.  The ability to identify the advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and web-based applications will assist instructors with more effective course design within their online courses. In addition, understanding what resources are available and how they might be used to foster instructor-student interactions as well as peer interaction will contribute to appropriate technology integration and the fulfillment of students’ need for active course content and engaged learning (Kovach, 2011).






Multimedia in Education - Introduction, The Elements of, Educational Requirements, Classroom Architecture and Resources, Concerns. (n.d.). Retrieved April 17, 2012, from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/6821/Multimedia-in-Education.html
Revere, L., & Kovach, J. V. . (2011). ONLINE TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENGAGED LEARNING A Meaningful Synthesis for Educators. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 12(2), 113–124.


Taylor, L., McGrath-Champ, S., & Clarkeburn, H. (2012). Supporting Student Self-Study: The Educational Design of Podcasts in a Collaborative Learning Context. Active Learning in Higher Education, 13(1), 77–90. doi:10.1177/1469787411429186


How to Effectively Use Technology in a Classroom. (n.d.).eHow. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/how_7825672_effectively-use-technology-classroom.html


Georgiou, M. (2011, March 1). Education for the Digital Age: Multimedia and Learning. Education for the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://educationforthedigitalage.blogspot.com/2011/03/multimedia-and-learning.html
Wu, H.-Y., & Lin, H.-Y. (2012). A hybrid approach to develop an analytical model for enhancing the service quality of e-learning. Computers & Education, 58(4), 1318–1338. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2011.12.025




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