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Engaging Students Online

Ed Tech Du Jour co-hosts, Dr. Heather Farmakis and Dr. Melissa Kaulbach, discuss various strategies to keep students from disengaging in online courses. These tips will reduce the barriers of distance, enable an enriched learning experience.
by

Ed Tech Du Jour

on 28 June 2013

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Transcript of Engaging Students Online

Start Out Strong
Jump in on Day 1!
Use Variety of Learning Approaches
Different approaches appeal to different learners
Provide for Interaction
Provide opportunities for interaction between instructor and students, students and students, and student and content!
Promote Active Learning and Critical Thinking
Incorporate critical thinking and active learning strategies
Connect to Real-life
Encourage students to apply real-world experience to course content
Engaging Students Online
Use case studies, peer-to-peer activities, project-based assignments, debates, guest speakers
Integrate multimedia, library and Web-resources
“Be present” to welcome the class

Provide a "Getting Started" cheat sheet with: syllabus, contact info, dates for each unit of course, FAQ, due dates for assignments, participation expectations, etc.
Refer to the student orientation
Integrate technology
Frequently interact with students regularly — through announcements, discussion boards, emails , IM, live sessions, phone calls
Encourage students to talk with one other, not only just you
Design (or re-design) assignments that involve sharing of ideas, or team-work (collaboration)
Facilitate - don’t dominate discussion
Start initial discussion threads to get things moving
Define participation and give credit for it (rubrics)
Send personal emails as friendly reminders to students who are not participating
Ask students to research and defend a position
Routinely ask follow-up questions while facilitating discussion, encourage students to do the same
Design assignments that require students to substantiate their ideas, verify and document their information
Encourage students to draw on personal examples and observations that are relevant to the course
Tie contemporary events or issues to course content
Whenever possible, encourage students to incorporate their own goals into study
Adult and working students particularly appreciate relevant parallels and comparisons. Some of your discussion questions and assignments can ask students to draw on their own experience or to observe something in the world around them.
Students also have goals of their own—both personal and career oriented. A good icebreaker question at the beginning of the course is to ask what students hope to gain from taking the class.
Give Feedback
Clearly describe grading and assignment criteria (rubrics)
Use rubrics to help guide students as well as to simplify feedback and grading process
Respond to students as promptly as possible (Make it a goal to respond to every student within 24-48 hours, even if it is just to say that you've received their email and are “working on it.”)
Provide individualized feedback on key assignments, and pay special attention to first major assignment
Let students know how they can improve
Carefully structured peer review can provide a valuable element
Maintain Enthusiasm
Maintain your own enthusiasm about the subject matter and communicate that enthusiasm to students
Stay organized
Have an active presence in the class
Make sure assignment load is reasonable (for the sake of your students, but for you, too!)
Some instructors try to over compensate for the perception that online is too easy by piling on the assignments.
Review and assess your own skills, teaching methods and style on a regular basis
Analyze student evaluations to learn areas of strength and areas for improvement
Keep current in your field
Set an example for your students of life-long learning — participate in professional development activities
Give regular, timely, and varied forms of feedback
Content adapted from "Student-Centered Online Teaching:Ten Best Practices" by Dr. Susan Ko,
Executive Director,
Center for Teaching and Learning,
University of Maryland, University College
Resources
#edtechdujour
Heather Farmakis, Ph.D. has extensive experience in professional development, distance learning, and online instructional design both in K-12 and higher education. She has presented at national and state conferences on professional development and online learning and recently published her ebook, iLearn: Tips and Tricks for Online Learners for students new to online learning.
Dr. Melissa Kaulbach is the Director of Academic Services. She is also a faculty member at Sarasota University, where she currently teaches graduate courses in Educational leadership and Montessori Leadership.She enjoys teaching, facilitating faculty workshops and presenting at conferences.
This webinar will discuss various strategies to keep students from disengaging in online courses. These tips will reduce the barriers of distance, enable an enriched learning experience, and optimize their experience.
Participants will:
Discover traits for keeping students engaged in online courses.
Identify when students are becoming disengaged.
Acquire skills for keeping students motivated and building community.

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