10 Strategies to Increase Student Engagement Online

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increase student engagement online


Have you experienced this? You are in Zoom with students. Most of their videos are muted. When you ask a question to the students, nobody answers you. It is as if you are alone at the meeting, nobody is listening at the other end of the screen. And it makes you wonder how to increase students' engagement in online class? You cannot go to their seat and ask them to get involved like you were in a normal physical classroom.

On the third day of DTP program this time, Harry Elias shared his 10 strategies to increase students' engagement in an online class. Below are a few of my notes. Unfortunately the time was very limited, else the topic is very much interesting. In addition to explaining these 10 strategies, he also practiced some of the strategies with the audience. I can feel the webinar was alive and not boring.

Before he explained the 10 strategies, he asked us to give a ‘thumb up’ if we are ready with the topic. This is a modelling on how you can initiate engagement with students with simple tools.

He asks us what is engagement? Why is it important? Are you students engaged? He splits us into smaller breakout rooms to discuss the answers. He informs that he will ask a random person to share the answers to the questions after the breakout room ends. This is also an example of how we can use breakout rooms effectively. Giving clear instruction before the breakout rooms opened, making sure students know what the teacher expects from them, and making sure everyone does the task because a random person will be asked to share the result.

As we discussed, engagement is important not only in the beginning of the lesson, but throughout the whale class duration. It is a way communication is established between students and teachers, and also students with students. That how knowledge will be imparted.

To keep students engaged, you cannot do a lot of TTT or Teacher Talking Time (read here about why TTT is bad). Instead, give students tasks. For example, when the objective is to find the definition, ask students to look up themself and compare their answer with other students.

You can see also in the previous article, how you can use the 5E instructional model on Task-based Learning. It forces students to keep active in their learning.

So, here is Harry Elias’s 10 strategies to increase students engagement in online learning.

Harry Elias, educator
Photo source: educamp.co.id

How to Increase Students Engagement in Online Learning


Strategy 1: prepare your students for online learning


Some students might not know how to access their digital resources, or where to look in the LMS. Even if they are digital natives, experience says that they are not even familiar with emails.

Introduce the LMS that you use before you begin the lesson. Repeat several times as needed. Show them where to look for materials, recording, or assignment. Show them how to submit their work. Make sure that they know this by asking questions.

Check for their connectivity. Ask for their ‘thumbs up’ if they think that the internet is running well

Assess their equipment. Have a list of what they should get ready with them before the classes. Show up the list in the beginning of the lesson, so students will be reminded. Do they already have their pen with them, or textbook, or notebook?

Strategy 2: Increase your presence


Be present even if the session is not lecturing. When students do individual or group work, check for their progress.

Keep your presence outside the class. Send them a message of reminders few days before the next class. Let say you are having class on Friday, text them on Tuesday saying,”Hi, remember we will be meeting on Friday. I sent you several articles to read…”

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Strategy 3: Build learning community


You can use https://pigeonholelive.com/ or class dojo for your class. Students can post questions to the forum. Other students can comment. This helps you to save your time, too.

Strategy 4: Deliver bite-sized learning


Teach only what is important. Don’t overload students with unnecessary information.

Strategy 5: Make time for fun


Do brain-breaks or kinesthetic activities. Be aware of students' conditions. Give them some break if they need it.

Some teachers are reluctant to give breaks for students because it will take more time to get them ready again. That’s why you should be careful about breaks. You must set discipline at breaks. When you say that everyone should stand by at 10.00 then you should start at 10.00. Give punishment for the ones who are late.

Strategy 6: Use quick writes


Ask students to write 30-100 words about something you are discussing. You can say,”Watch the video and describe…” Optimize the use of chat boxes or use discussion boards like Jamboard.

Strategy 7: Use students centered approach


There are so many examples for this. Do formative assessments. Ask students, “Give me an example of ….” or “ Someone, please define… “

You can also choose Think-pair-share.

Apply questioning techniques when you ask students. If your students do not answer, then maybe your question is unsuitable with the students. Ask them according to their level. Ask students the question they can answer. It will give them confidence in learning and keep them engaged.

Strategy 8 : involve parents


Strategy 9: use interactive tools


There are so many interactive tools available. You can use Quizziz, Nearpod, etc.

Strategy 10 if you face a problem with a student, stay relaxed, and speak directly to the student. Discuss the problem and agree on the solution.

10 Strategies to increase student engagement



Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to discuss deeper on these strategies due to limited time. I wish next year, the coronavirus pandemic is over so I can attend the on-site DTP workshops.

I hope these strategies will help you to increase students' engagements in your online classes. If you have any other strategy please feel free to drop your ideas in the comment form below. I hope you have a better semester ahead. See you in the next posts.
Nia M Wardani
Hi! Call me Nia. I am a physics teacher and I love to learn anything in the universe.

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