One of the big topics up for discussion this year among my colleagues is engagement. As online numbers continue to grow, the need for engaging our online learners increases. Research has shown that synchronous engagement in the online environment is what leads to student success and student learning beyond Bloom’s lower levels. Engagement, however, can be difficult when one has a demanding schedule or when students don’t seem as connected to course content and ideas as they would be in a campus class. Today’s infographics, both created by Mia MacMeekin, curator of the blog An Ethical Island and founder of Epigogy Inc., a company whose mission is to improve instruction and instructional design. The first infographic, Online Student Contact, provides some practical tips on interacting with students online. My favorite tip is “don’t forget about the A students.” Often, it’s easy to focus on challenging students over those who excel; acknowledging amazing work can help inspire other students to grow!
The second infographic covers a specific facet of online contact and engagement, online discussion boards. I can admit wholeheartedly that this is one of my most challenging. An important tip Mia shares here is always praise something in every discussion post. Again, as above, it’s easy to focus on negativity, but too much turns a student off of learning and could lead that student to failure.
Are you a teacher or trainer? How do you engage your students? What do you find works best?