Humanizing Your Online Course

Curious about how to increase student engagement in your online courses? Seeking ways to foster students’ engagement with you, your TAs, and classmates? Consider humanizing your online course. According to Tips for Humanizing Your Online Course, instructors can “improve the learning experience as well as success and retention rates” by incorporating a few approaches. These [...]

Five Design Strategies for Online Group Collaboration

Designing group collaboration experiences for online courses that are effective, meaningful, and engaging requires planning and preparation. Course Design and Online Group Collaboration — What’s the Connection? outlines five course design strategies that can support students in achieving effective group collaboration. These strategies include: Making projects relevant and challenging. Highlight the value, purpose, and real-world [...]

Group Projects Need Team Charters

Having students develop team charters before tackling projects can be a great way to get collaborative assignments off to a strong (and successful!) start. As Use Team Charters to Improve Group Assignments details, team charters encourage students to not only think about what they need to achieve over the semester, but to also strategize how [...]

More on Making Groups Projects Work for Online Classes

A recent article adds to our developing knowledge of how to more fully support the success of group assignments and projects. 6 Online Collaboration Tools and Strategies For Boosting Learning details six strategies and six tools that can head off the frustration that can be associated with group learning. As this article details, the six [...]

Reaching Reluctant and Resistant Students

Wondering how to reach students who seem checked out? Two recent blog posts provide suggestions and guidance for how instructors can reach students who might be reluctant or resistant. As The Reluctant Learner argues, students who are reluctant learners can appear unmotivated. However, often that lack of engagement comes not from low interest, but fear [...]

Encouraging Full Participation in Groups Projects

For all of the excellent reasons to include group projects in courses—including how they can better prepare students to collaborate in the workplace—instructors can find them challenging. A primary challenge can be ensuring that all members of a group fully and fairly contribute to project submissions. One technique to resolve that challenge is to have [...]

Supporting Effective In-Class Discussions

As the author of Effective Ways to Structure Discussion points out, class discussions (whether online or in person) are most effective if they are structured by a “protocol that guides the interaction.” To support students in having effective face-to-face discussions, the author recommends three techniques. Starter and Wrapper. In order to fully and effectively participate, [...]

Encouraging Critical Thinking

As Unlocking the Mystery of Critical Thinking details, “most faculty don’t know what critical thinking is or how to teach it.” While we assume that critical thinking is an inevitable product of teaching any complex and demanding topic, that is not necessarily so. As the author argues, instructors must “explicitly and intentionally design their courses” [...]

Making Groups Projects Work for Online Classes

Group projects can present a variety of challenges for both instructors and students. However, they can also offer a myriad of benefits, particularly for online courses, that make them well worth including. A three-part series—1) why group work is necessary, 2) strategies for effective group work, and 3) student perspectives on group work—will get you [...]

Beyond Papers and Exams, or How to Creatively Approach Assignments

As the author of Could We Be Doing Better with Our Assignments? argues, assignments are “vehicles through which students learn course content.” Are your course assignments—the papers, exams, quizzes, and homework you have students complete to demonstrate mastery of course concepts—the best method to assess learning? If you’re ready to take a more creative approach [...]