5 Better Ways to Engage Students in Online Learning

Posted by Rebecca Poulsen on Dec 8, 2020 2:56:06 PM
Rebecca Poulsen

5 Better Ways to Engage Students in Online Learning

One of the most prominent challenges teachers are facing in 2020 is engaging students in online learning. It’s challenging to ensure that students participate when it’s relatively easy to turn off their camera and microphone. Even if you make it mandatory for students to have their camera on during class time, that doesn’t always mean they are fully engaged in the lesson.

So how can you know if your students are engaged with their online education?

Well...you don’t, and that’s the tricky part.

But the good news is, there are ways you can adjust to online learning and help students engage more effectively.

1. Variety of Assignments

Student engaging in online learning

Every student learns differently. Allowing them to choose how they complete their assignments can help them be more excited about doing the project.

For example, rather than making students write a paper, give them the option to do a video presentation. Some students thrive on written skills, while others are great with presentation skills. Having a few assignments where students choose their medium will help them show their talents and likely will do better on the project.

Not every assignment needs to be this way since it's important for students to work on the skills they need to improve. However, allowing students to choose how to complete a few of their assignments will encourage them to engage more with online education.

2. Let Students Set Classroom Values

It’s helpful for a teacher to have a set of expectations and values in their classroom, but it’s equally important to allow students to help shape their learning environment.

At the beginning of a semester, have students develop a list of expectations and values they want to follow during the school year. Ask them what they want to get out of this particular class, what they are most excited about learning, and projects they would like to complete.

Suppose students have a better idea of what their school year and semester will look like, and they know that they helped create their curriculum. In that case, they will be much more engaged and enthusiastic about participating in an online learning form. 

3. Check-in on Students

Student sitting at a computer doing online education

While we are all adjusting to a new normal of online education for the foreseeable future, it’s essential to do regular check-ins with students.

At the beginning of the semester, schedule a time with each student twice a semester that you will meet with them via video chat. This time will be the perfect opportunity for students to voice their concerns about the class, projects, and productivity. Sometimes, knowing that a teacher is rooting for them and will help them out can make all the difference for a student.

4. Assignments that aren’t Screen Focused

Students spend much more time in front of their screens with online learning, leading to screen fatigue.

Screen fatigue, also known as eyestrain, causes headaches, difficulty concentrating, watery or dry eyes, among other symptoms.

Students need a break from their screens, so offer them assignments they get them away from their computer. Rather than having students type up an essay prompt, have them hand write it in a notebook.

Encourage students to go for a walk without their phone and write or doodle about their experience. Getting out in the fresh air will help students refocus their thoughts and feel refreshed for their next Zoom meeting. 

5. Offer Resources

Student carrying books while listening to music

Students don’t have access to their usual resources like tutoring labs, office hours, and TA’s with online education, leaving students feeling like they are on their own, therefore decreasing engagement in their studies.

That’s why it’s so important to offer students additional help and resources wherever possible. PhotoStudy is a great tool to help students stay on top of their work and ensure they understand the concepts being taught in class.

PhotoStudy has Expert Tutors available 24/7 to answer any homework questions students may have. With various subjects like History, Science, Math, and Writing, students will find exactly what they are looking for and get the help they need to succeed in school. 

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