Personalize your Master Course Using Student Engage Strategies

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

This session focuses on the use of student engagement strategies and technology to personalize master courses. Presenters will review best practices to increase student engagement, and discuss how implementing these strategies can help online instructors bring their personalities and expertise to master courses. Presenter and audience experiences will be shared.


Danielle Budenz currently works as an adjunct lecturer and instructional designer. She has experience in higher education administration as an Associate Dean and as a Program Director. She has taught courses related to school counselor, teacher, and administrator prep, both in the hybrid and online formats. Dr. Budenz earned a BA degree in English with a Psychology minor and secondary education certification from DeSales University, an MA degree in Counseling Psychology from Immaculata University, School Counseling certification from Gwynedd Mercy University, and K-12 Principal certification and an EDD in Educational Leadership from Widener University. Additionally, she is an alumna of Harvard University’s Management Development Program ('15) and OLC's Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning [IELOL] ('16).

Extended Abstract

Do you teach online using a master course shell?  Are you looking for some ideas on how to personalize your master course and increase your student engagement?   Do your students seem disconnected from you?  their classmates? the content? Personalization of master courses will increase student engagement while allowing students and instructors to feel more connected during the course.

When teaching online, many instructors are provided with a master course which contains the learning materials, discussion forums, assignments, and assessments.  With more higher education institutions opting to offer master course shells, it can be difficult for instructors to know how to incorporate their personality, experiences, and insights into a pre-designed course. 

During this session, we will share some of the ways that we have personalized our courses, discuss how these techniques align with best practices for engaging students, and share the technology resources that help us.  Strategies will include:

  • engaging students before the course begins
  • increasing instructor presence online
  • building a community of learners through resource sharing
  • personalizing feedback
  • increasing student-to-student interaction

From personalized weekly announcements, individualized feedback and check-ins, to dialogue creation in discussion forums, and audio feedback, there are a variety of ways an instructor can incorporate strategies that increase engagement and add personality to the course.  Examples from courses will be displayed.

In addition to hearing about our experiences, participants will have time to discuss ideas and tools that they have used to personalize their courses and increase student participation and engagement.