Engaging Online Authentically: Acting on What We Know from Other Disciplines
Concurrent Session 2
Based on research and established best practices, collected from cross disciplines, this workshop provides an explanation of pathways that complete a circuit for interaction fostering a deeper level of engagement, empowerment, connectivity and collaboration within the online classroom dynamic.
The word, “engagement,” buzzes through the discourse of online instruction with a steady push for more discussion postings, more feedback, more points of contact in a frenzy of activity without a clear sense of the qualities that distinguish authentic engagement from classroom white noise. The current conception of engagement fails to distinguish higher frequency from higher impact activities. Holding a nuanced definition of engagement, gives educators power to control this concept in a way that transforms engagement from mere counting toward authentic, transformative interaction. Current definitions, such as that of the NSSE (2016), focus on engagement as a product, with the focus on diagnostics and assessment. However, describing constructive qualities of engagement benefits online instructors with a process-based definition to build interactivity and presence in unique contexts.
To develop a definition, we apply relevant research and influential practices, constructing a multidimensional understanding of what it means to engage with students, materials, and within learning communities online. While the rate of enrollment in online courses has increased in proportion to traditional courses alone, the risk of being disengaged through the impersonal nature of technology is ever-present in online courses (Allen & Seaman, 2016). Because many structural aspects of social media are similar to online learning systems, it follows that the way individuals engage in social media shares behavioral, cognitive and emotional dimensions. There is a rich tradition of drawing from interdisciplinary theory, methods, and research in the service of understanding what it means to teach and learn online. Exploring engagement beyond individual disciplinary borders through concepts as diverse as organizational learning from business, mindset strategies from psychology, and institutional pathway practices from health care brings a confluence of strategies that bring to light the nature of engagement. In essence, our workshop offers a development model to promote assuring quality engagement in online courses, based on research and established best practices collected from cross disciplines and dimensions as well as sub-processes by providing an explanation of possible applications to better know the elements of engagement.
Based on research and established best practices, collected from cross disciplines, we seek to provide an explanation of pathways to form a circuit for interaction that fosters a deeper level of engagement, empowerment, connectivity and collaboration within the online classroom dynamic.
Through modeled collaboration, attendees will:
· Develop a functional definition of engagement
· Develop a plan to cultivate engagement in their unique contexts
· Implement high impact practices
· Tap into an authentic instructional voice in their online classroom