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How to Effectively Facilitate Your Online Course to Drive Student Engagement


We interviewed Bowling Green State Assistant Professor, Kyle Moninger, about building student engagement in online Applied Statistics courses.

How would you recommend a new faculty member get started?

“Engagement is often lacking in an online course. Not because of its lack of necessity, but rather because of it’s difficult to foster in the online realm. When preparing your course, make a commitment to some level of engagement. It doesn't have to be daily FlipGrid videos but try to build a course that's more than just reading chapters and submitting assignments with zero interactivity. Once you decide what level of engagement you want to implement, design some activities to foster it (see below for ideas in McGraw Hill Connect®). Make sure your expectations are clear in the syllabus and on the opening day announcement. You want students to know from the start that engagement will be a part of the course, and it will help them to more willingly participate.”

What are some of the standards you need to keep in mind?

“The things I keep in the forefront of my mind when it comes to online engagement is that it may look different than a traditional face-to-face structure, but quality engagement is possible. Some students will be resistant to the activities, and perhaps do the minimum to get by. But I believe the majority of students want more from their online classes and will appreciate the additional level of learning that engaging activities provide.”

What specific Connect tools would you recommend using?

“Some activities to foster engagement could include a discussion around selected articles, video submissions of students discussing topics, or even as simple as having a homework discussion board, where students can post questions about homework problems. Connect offers custom assignments to help implement these types of activities. Connect offers a basic discussion board, where the instructor can post a class-wide message, and students can then respond. Web-based activities allow you to post links to external sites (like research articles or video content) to further discussion topics. And finally, a file-attachment assignment will allow students to upload files or links directly into the assignment for manual grading. This type can be used for video submissions.”

How do you use reports in your online course?

“Connect has a variety of reports that are extremely useful in the semester. One of my favorites that I use early on is the "At Risk" report. Connect applies an algorithm that measures each student's "Online Engagement" and indicates that with a number between 0 and 10. The report identifies any student whose engagement level is low and at-risk of failing/withdrawing from the course. This tool is helpful for instructors to then reach out to the student and help them get back on track before it's too late.”

About the Author

Kyle B. Moninger instructs the Quantitative Business Curriculum at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. He teaches and plans undergraduate courses in statistics and business calculus, serves on the Quantitative Business Curriculum committee, and supervises the college's math and stats tutoring center. Kyle has been a visiting instructor three times at Tianjin Polytechnic University in Tianjin, China, and was previously a data scientist at Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio, where he designed and implemented a corporate training program on business intelligence and analytics.

Profile Photo of Kyle Moninger