Simple Guidance For You In Online Student Engagement

Every teacher has struggled with student engagement. Disengaged students are easy to spot. Students may have their head down, not taking notes, or look bored and indifferent to the learning process. Of course, in online learning, you can’t see the students, so how do you know when they are disengaged?

How to spot a disengaged online student

  • Students rarely enters the course room.
  • Very little time is spent  in course activities
  •  Interaction with other students is sparse
  • Assignments are missing or delayed 
  • Discussion posts are short.

You have identified students who are not interested in your online course. Remember that disengaged students may feel isolated and unable to seek help. They may be unwilling to take charge of their education.

What can you do to increase student engagement?

  • Connect with students at the beginning of the course, often and early. Let students know that you are available by phone, email, or other modes of communication.
  • Assign activities requiring collaboration that can build student partnerships which keep students involved and are necessary to learning.
  • Recall the many tools available to students through the online services that the college/university provides. Provide links to these services in your online classroom. Don’t assume that a student will search the college or university website for services.
  • Reflect on what has helped keep students engaged and what you have done in previous courses.

Now is the time to take a peek at your courses and how to locate disengaged learners before they give up the wonderful online courses on which you work hard.

Resources on this topic

Engagement Matters: Student Perceptions on the Importance of Engagement Strategies in the Online Learning Environment (Martin & Bollinger, 2018)

The eLearning Dilemma: Engaged vs Unengaged Learners by Karla Guitierrez

Author: Anne-Marie Fiore

Anne Marie is an instructional designer who works with educators to design, develop, and deliver instructional products and experiences. She knows that instructional designers wear many hats. They not only write objectives, create online courses, and develop assessments but also do video production, podcasting — even build websites.In addition to instructional designer, Anne Marie has worked as a curriculum specialist, assistant professor, and technology director. She was recognized by the Huffington Post as a Top Social Media Tech Leader and recently won a “Grand Award for Learning Program Design” in the 32nd Annual APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Anne Marie holds a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction from Northcentral University.In her spare time, Anne-Marie enjoys several hobbies; blogging, watching way too many true crime documentaries on the ID channel, and Star Trek. She lives in Hudson, New Hampshire, with her husband, Kenneth.