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How to Effectively Facilitate Your Online Course to Drive Student Engagement | Laura Bannon

How would you recommend a new faculty member get started?

"Build in assignments that require students to interact with one another. I use the Voice Board assignments in Connect. They are very similar to a discussion board and allow your entire class to post/comment with either text, audio, or video responses. You can use the pre-created prompts/assignments created by McGraw Hill or create your own prompts from scratch.

I also provide ungraded/low-stakes assignments with their workbook/homework style assignments so students have quick access to the eBook and links to videos that I like."

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

“If you are asking your students to be engaged, you should be, too. Always be clear about how long you anticipate it will take you to respond to e-mails and return assignments with grades and feedback. By sticking to your own schedule, you provide students with the structure and consistent engagement with you.”

What specific Connect tools would you recommend using?

"I really like the Voice Board activities. This is the one place I know students can't easily look up an answer online because these activities don’t have right or wrong answers, per se. While they may use sources, I don't want their "script." I require them to post video comments so they have to at least speak well enough to be understood by their peers, and they have to know the material well enough to understand and respond to their peers.

Because of COVID-19, I will be teaching synchronous online classes for the first time in the fall, and I plan to use the Recordable Video Chat activities as break-out assignments for small groups to complete during our meetings. Their participation will be the grade, so not only will I be able to give them all personal feedback, but I will also be able to use that as attendance."

What is your favorite tool/assignment in Connect to drive student engagement?

“I have been offering the Practice Spanish: Study Abroad virtual “quests” as extra credit, and the students who have participated seem to enjoy it. This is a game-like, virtual study abroad program that immerses students in the language, only available for Introductory and Intermediate Spanish Connect courses. I plan to incorporate this more in the fall to increase engagement in the online environment due to COVID-19.”