A crucial component of a successful course, regardless of delivery format, is student engagement. Students are more likely to be successful in courses that engage students in a variety of ways over the course of the semester, build a sense of community, and have a strong teacher presence. Here are some suggestions for intentionally designing your course with student engagement in mind.
View or download a full version of our Instructional Strategies pdf.
Build Community and Establish a Presence
Community building is essential for student success in any course but can be more difficult to accomplish in an online course. Check out this video which will help you understand how to foster a supportive learning environment by setting the tone, diversifying the curriculum, and connecting with students in multiple ways. Adapt effective f2f strategies to intentionally build community in your online course. Establish presence early in your course by employing simple strategies such as creating a welcoming video, creating an orientation video, offering a social forum where students can interact with each other, and establishing expectations for your availability. Don’t forget, frequent but routine communication is crucial in online courses. Consider using tools such as announcements forum, quickmail, and video capture to post routine messages. Personalize your Zoom room and use it for office hours. Communicate what you expect from students and what students can expect from you.
Incorporate Inclusive Teaching and Learning Practices
Inclusive teaching is good teaching! For students to be engaged, they must be included, represented, and feel a sense of belonging. Here are a variety of inclusive teaching strategies and Inclusive Teaching Practices Toolkit. Consider the number of situational factors that contribute to student engagement. For 2020, we are still teaching in the midst of a health pandemic and a racial epidemic- these factors ask instructors to consider trauma-informed pedagogies that respond to issues of equity and inclusion in considering learning v. survival brain. Consider how you might design your course to better meet all students' needs using Universal Design for Learning principles. As you use tools, be cognizant of the many ways you can utilize them to be more effective. For example, you can employ simple techniques to make your many Zoom sessions more inclusive for all participants. For more resources, check out the Inclusive Excellence Team’s Inclusive Teaching Strategies and the Inclusive Excellence website.