Engagement in course content is a key component in effectively educating students. The move to online classes due to COVID-19 has made student engagement and participation more challenging. Making course content interactive when teaching online requires more creativity, but is not impossible. Here are five ways to create a more interactive environment in the online classroom:
As an instructor, be sure to foster an environment in which students feel comfortable giving feedback and constructive criticism regarding your teaching methods or the way the class is directed. Online teaching and learning is new to many students and instructors and therefore presents an opportunity to start an ongoing dialogue about course structure. When instructors communicate that they appreciate and require feedback, students are more likely to share their thoughts.
Allow the Students to Choose
Online discussion boards are an excellent way to create interactive content for your course. Providing multiple topics for students to respond to within the discussion board allows them to choose a topic they prefer and are passionate about. Allowing students to choose the content they wish to interact with gives them more incentive to participate while empowering them to share their thoughts.
Human connection is an important aspect to a good education, and one of the things students miss most about in-person learning. Splitting up classes into smaller groups creates a more intimate and connected arena for students to discuss topics and questions raised in class. Students may become more comfortable sharing their opinions or thoughts in a smaller group. When additional voices are heard in a class, more innovative and informed conclusions can be reached than before.
Modifying course content to be more game-like helps increase interaction in an online class. Students are more likely to participate in modes of learning that are posed as fun and enjoyable. Tying course content into popular culture or current events grabs the attention of students and increases class participation.
Giving weekly quizzes might seem like a counter-intuitive way to increase course interaction, but can help test the effectiveness of an instructor’s methods. Quizzes allow instructors to determine if students have been engaged in and retaining course information. Having weekly quizzes alerts students that they need to stay engaged in order to succeed in the class, and keeps you as the instructor informed as to what information needs to be better communicated.
This list provides some ideas for creating an interactive atmosphere in an online classroom, but is by no means comprehensive. There are many ways to increase class participation and engagement creatively and effectively. Listening to the needs of your students can help you find new ways to benefit your online classroom.