Student engagement holds a direct relationship with the amount of curiosity, activeness, passion, attention, interest and optimism students show in their process of learning or when they are being taught.
The amount of student engagement is a reflector of educators’ quality teaching and is immensely satisfying on both ends. With tech in role, online student engagement can be a tricky thing. Yes, technology becomes an influencer and does involve students in studies but engagement is at best when they are eager to study not because they get their hands on technology but the desire to learn is at the epitome.
Below are some strategies for educators that they can adopt to engage students in online study sessions.
1. A Welcoming Message
Now the point of this is to make students feel at ease and form a comfort level. When you start with your online classes, sending a friendly welcoming message to the class helps students be fearless and come out of their shells in the process of learning. Send an email message to introduce yourself and provide instructions on how to get started. Add a personal touch by including a short video message relaying the same information so students can get a sense of your personality. Adding an opening activity that involve introduction of students can be a good idea to get all your bunch of students together.
2. Creating Open Accessible Environment for Students
Students must have this sense of reaching out to you when they get stuck without any hesitation. To make this happen, make sure you give them allowance and mean to reach you. Set particular time at which they can contact you for their doubts. Make sure enough time is being given to students. Also, having feedback from students can do wonders. Ask them questions like How, why/why not did you respond in classes? How motivated were you to show up day after day or try to ask questions when you needed help? You should create an atmosphere that is open and positive, which includes being prompt to their questions and making yourself available, such as virtual office hours. You can strengthen their self-motivation by not reinforcing your power as the instructor.
3. Ownership of Learning
Being available for students doesn’t mean you have to spoon feed them all the time. Some students are self-starters by nature however everyone is different and those need a dose of motivation with a push shouldn’t feel left out. The point is to keep the class motivated but also make sure more is being done by the students and help them with their work. Help students come out with new ideas and assign them activities that encourages them to look out of the box. Students must take ownership of their learning and feel responsible for their education.
4. Help Students Set Goals and Achieve them
When you are conducting online classes one thing that will help is small little tasks. Help students set goals and achieve them. This can be in the form of completing a difficulty assignment that they haven’t been able to do within deadlines or scoring better than the previous time in the subject they face most difficulties.
5. Students’ Active Participation in Curriculum Building
Let students have a say in what will be covered next in the classroom. This brings them a sense of involvement and they feel heard. Ask students what they want out of the class and incorporate their ideas while keeping the balance of your work and their wishes.
6. Variety of Learning Content
You will have different types of learners in your class and using a variety of content-delivery methods and learning activities will help keep them engaged. Consider including images or graphs to clarify concepts. You can also replace some of the text with videos or audio depending on the topic. Small changes can drastically improve the learning experience for your students. You can also consider using chunk of content in various options covering the complete topic.
7. Encourage Sharing: Use of Social Media
The hype of social media must not go in vain. Students love using various social media platforms and asking them to integrate those platforms in your online classes can be very effective. Twitter and Facebook are loved by all. Ask them to share their knowledge or assign group activities with the use of social media to keep things interesting for students. A summary at the end of the week on twitter or a group activity on Facebook will cheer students up and will keep things interesting.
8. Assign Group Activities
More heads more knowledge. Collaboration brings creativity and group activities are a great way to make that happen. Students can collaborate over hangouts or any other platform and work together on projects. A presentation or a group project can help students explore learn and grow beyond the area of their knowledge.
9. Regular Feedbacks
This, I feel is the most important thing. Regular feedbacks keep students interested and pushes them to do better every time. Educators must provide regular feedbacks to students regarding their performance and the areas they need to work more on.
How do you keep your students engaged in your online classes?