Engagement and Interaction in Online Learning Environments
Use Communication Tools to Increase Instructor Presence
- Use email, announcements, course messages, classlists @ NAU to communicate with students frequently.
- Add audio and video, chat rooms, explanatory screencast videos.
- Establish contact methods and availability (how will you hold online office hours)?
- Be present frequently to help students stay on track.
- Respond to and be involved in the online interactions.
Strategies to increase engagement and interaction
- Set ground rules for student to student interaction.
- Foster meaningful interactions, beyond post & respond (for example, video posts using Kaltura)
- Use variety: intersperse content delivery with short writing assignments, have students upload notes, or create knowledge checks/quizzes.
- Break down information into smaller chunks to guide learning.
- Try to limit videos to 5-7 minutes, then vary with an activity and continue the topic on another video.
Frequent formative feedback
- Use feedback to shape coursework: specifically, address gaps in knowledge.
- Provide feedback often.
- Use whole class feedback: create an announcement/video addressing what they did well and what they could improve upon.
- Scaffold the feedback on smaller assignments to contribute to the larger project.
- Use the NAU F2S tool
Re-imagine online discussions
Purpose- Is it connected to a learning outcome, assignment, assessment?
Is it used for:
- Introduction and building community?
- To share student-generated content (explore new concepts, responding to an activity)?
- To investigate and share research?
- Synthesize content (practice using complex content, hone critical thinking skills)?
- What you expect of students:
- Cut and paste from word processing, use college-level language and grammar.
- Ask classmates for further clarification.
- Respond to all questions as a courtesy.
- Post on time.
- Answers and replies should be thoughtful, considerate.
- What is expected of you:
- You will read the posts and comments.
- Clarify inaccuracies or correct confusion.
- Point out posts or discussions that are particularly thoughtful, insightful, or well written.
- Provide a summary of the conversation.
- Frame issues or extend the discussion with leading and directed questions.
What is a substantial reply?
A constructive reply is one that contains substance and not an “I Agree” or “I Disagree” reply that fails to give a well-supported reason why.
In your replies to other students you can:
- Expand on or clarify a point.
- Offer an additional argument to support a position taken in an answer.
- Suggest ways in which an idea could be more clearly expressed.
- Identify passages where you think the writer misunderstood a concept or applied it incorrectly.
- Disagree with a point or position made in an answer. (Be constructive and respectful. State the point you disagree with. Offer reasons why you think their view is incorrect and support your position by citing the text or other sources).
- Use a rubric so students understand how you will grade the post.
- Provide models or exemplars where possible so students can see what they should do to be successful.
- Checklists and to-do lists can also be useful for establishing clear expectations.