Applying motivational design principles to create engaging online modules

Description In a classroom setting, levels of student engagement vary widely, but instructors can adjust the lesson based on the perceived level of student engagement. However, in an online environment, instructors cannot spontaneously prompt students to motivate their engagement. When developing asynchronous modules, using a motivational design model and appropriate technologies allows one to replicate …

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Use word clouds to enhance critical thinking

Description One of the major goals of higher education is to cultivate students’ critical thinking skills (Roth, 2010). In order to be prepared for the workplace and to be an informed citizen, students need to be able to base judgments, make decisions, and solve problems based on the careful critique of available evidence. Engagement, defined …

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Use branching videos to engage students

Description Using branching story lines within an interactive decision-making video is an engaging method of enhancing the learning process for digital natives. Each short video segment along the path of the branching story line presents the viewer with a dilemma (decision point) and a subsequent choice of how to proceed. As the viewer makes decisions …

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Use Web Conferencing Tools for Office Hours

Description One of the primary concerns reported by online students is feelings of isolation (Abrami & Bures, 1996), and according to Wang, Dziuban, Cook, & Moskal (2009) one of the most effective predictors for student satisfaction is their perceived ability to respect students and show genuine interest in their learning. One way to bridge the …

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Reach More Students with Targeted Office Hours

Description One of the biggest challenges instructors face with large class sizes is connecting with students individually. Often students will make use of office hours for that personal connection, but there are only so many hours in the day and teaching online adds another layer of complexity. What are targeted office hours? Have you ever …

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Managing Student Interaction with Sign Up Sheets

Description In a distance learning environment, Moore (1989) suggests there are 3 different interaction types: student to student, student to instructor, and student to content. Given various variables such as class size, student location, student needs, teaching load, and content complexity, managing student to instructor interaction can be a difficult and time consuming process. How …

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Engage adult learners with course-long role play

Description Role playing in the context of educational simulations has been cited as a particularly engaging strategy for online courses (Ausburn, 2004; Bender, 2005; Cornelius, Gordon, and Ackland, 2011; Lytle, Lytle, and Brophy, 2006; and Serby, 2011). Such role playing when conducted for an extended time period (e.g., for the duration of an academic term) …

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Convert course materials into an instructional simulation using gaming elements

Description In an online course, a frequent criticism is that PowerPoint’s are poorly designed and critical supporting information is often missing (with no presenter to fill in the blanks!) (Elder, 2009). On the other hand, instructional simulations combine multimedia elements (i.e. sound, images, video, etc) to represent (simulate) particular aspects of an actual situation (Hays, …

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