Deep Learning Via Student Engagement

Concurrent Session 5

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Student engagement in online courses is highly influenced by instructors’ presence, relationships, the quality of the course content, and learning activities that allow for deep learning. Walk away from this session with strategies and tools to revise or design your courses with student engagement and deep learning in mind.



Nancy Van Erp is the program director and an adjunct professor for the Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota online M.Ed. in Learning Design and Technology program. She’s a former K12 Spanish teacher with research interests in critical thinking in the online environment, constructivist learning, adult learning, design thinking, and technology.

Extended Abstract

Walk away from this session with simple but profound ideas you can employ instantly to amplify engagement in your courses, establish a culture of curiosity and engagement, and enhance students’ ability and propensity to create meaning through purposeful interactions with other students, the instructor, and course content. This panel of three instructors from different disciplines and universities will share how their efforts to engage with students can be used universally throughout disciplines and programs to promote deeper learning.

Engagement is critical for students to deeply understand content (Kuh, 2009) and it is dependent on many factors, many of which are within an instructor’s control. Czerkawski (2014) describes deep learning as dependent on both teacher and student and explains that it is a “two-way exchange between effective teaching and receptive learning” (p. 31). This presentation will share lived experiences with the employment of strategies within five areas suggested by Czerkawski to help instructors and instructional designers create deep learning in online courses:

  1. Provide authentic learning experiences;

  2. Ask questions to promote problem solving, relationships, evaluation, judgment, and choice;

  3. Increase meaningful dialogue;

  4. Develop learning tasks with a consideration for deep learning;

  5. Provide frequent feedback via formative assessments.

Student engagement and deep learning feed each other and environments that intentionally promote one are likely to promote and enhance the other. Be prepared to learn about a myriad of strategies for nurturing both engagement and deep learning. Participants will be prompted to interact in small groups, encouraged to ask questions of the panel and each other, and asked to share their own success stories.