Faculty Focus

HIGHER ED TEACHING STRATEGIES FROM MAGNA PUBLICATIONS

Online Student Engagement

Three Ways to Increase the Quality of Students' Discussion Board Comments

As more and more courses go online, interaction and knowledge building among students rely primarily on asynchronous threaded discussions. For something that is so central to online learning, current research and literature have provided instructors with little support as to how they can facilitate and maintain high-quality conversations among students in these learning environments. This article responds to this need by offering three strategies instructors can use to ensure educationally valuable talk in their online classes.

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Should You Let Students Lead Discussion Boards?

Several years ago, a colleague suggested that having students lead discussions in the online classroom would be a good idea. I agreed and searched the literature for research on this topic but found nothing. No one at that point had been looking at having students moderate, or they hadn’t written about it. I still thought it was a good idea and decided to pursue this line of research by having my students moderate and follow up with an end-of-course student questionnaire.

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Using Screencasting to Engage and Build Community with Online Learners

In the online classroom, faculty work hard to engage their distance learners and build a strong sense of academic community in the electronic setting. Screencasting can be an effective and easy way to do this. Screencasting allows you to take a digital video of what you are doing on your computer desktop, and most screencasting tools allow you to narrate your video while recording. The possible uses for screencasting are endless; these include providing course orientations, delivering instructional lectures, providing feedback, and encouraging student sharing.

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Student Engagement Strategies for the Online Classroom

Cognitive engagement is important to student success in any learning environment. However, cognitive engagement takes on more significance in the online learning environment, where students learn in a physically isolated environment and often lack elements that typically engage students in the face-to-face classroom.

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