Starting From the Design: Effective Ways to Promote Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments

Concurrent Session 7

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Participants will be introduced to and exchange effective methods, to engage students in interactive online learning environments. Related research and sample rubrics will be provided.

Archivist Notes

Extended Abstract

Student engagement is one of the most crucial factors that directly impact a student's motivation, retention, and learning outcomes, especially in an online setting. Knowing that, what essential elements and strategies effectively promote online student engagement (e.g. synchronous communication, social interaction, group collaboration, etc.)? Would engagement strategies vary based on different course delivery methods, such as self-paced, competency based, total online, or blended? How can an online instructor determine if his or her students are fully engaged in the virtual learning environment? Do students share the same perspective in online learning engagement?

During this round table session, we will discuss and identify essential components that boost online student engagement, as well as possible strategies to effectively measure the level of student engagement. The participants will grasp a holistic perspective in measuring online student engagement through a facilitated discussion with actionable tasks in mind.

Then, the presenters will introduce an example of how a faculty member at the University of Southern Indiana designed the developmental and instructional trajectory of an interactive online course in the discipline of education. This course adopted, "Rubric for Assessing Interactive Qualities in Distance Courses," (Roblyer & Wiencke, 2004) for course development and assessment. Specifically, the session will deliberate effective methods and strategies to engage students in five areas:

1. Social/Rapport-building Designs for Interaction
2. Instructional Designs for Interaction
3. Interactivity of Technology Resources
4. Evidence of Learner Engagement
5. Evidence of Instructor Engagement

At the end of the session, participants will be able to review course artifacts, exchange ideas, and provide constructive feedback regarding the presented rubric.


Dixson, D. M. (2010). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: What do students find engaging?. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10 (2), 1-13

Bart, M. (2012). Online Student Engagement Tools and Strategies. Wisconsin: Magna Publications

Roblyer, M. D. and Wiencke, W. R. (2004). Exploring the Interaction Equation: Validating a Rubric to Assess and Encourage Interaction in Distance Courses. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8 (4), 25-37

Badge, J. L., Saunders, N. F. W., & Cann, A. J. (2012). Beyond Marks: New Tools to Visualise Student Engagement Via Social Networks. Research in Learning Technology, 20, 16283 - doi: 10.3402/rlt.v20i0/16283.
Arbaugh, J. B. (2000). How classroom environment and student engagement affect learning in Internet based MBA classes. Business Communication Quarterly, 63(4), 9-26.

Dr. Yajuan Xiang's presentation