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Thinking about Online Student Engagement

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Various thoughts on the how and why of online student engagement. Presentation given to RMIT Online October 2017

Published in: Education
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Thinking about Online Student Engagement

  1. 1. HELLO I AM ONLINE DIRECTOR AND
  2. 2. Today I am talking about: Digital Presence Managing Silence Student Engagement
  3. 3. Every discipline engages students…
  4. 4. …with different pedagogies.
  5. 5. But we all end up basically in a digital filing cabinet
  6. 6. Onsite = Automatic Presence
  7. 7. Online = Automatic Absence
  8. 8. I propose that: Rather than viewing online learning as a ‘problem’ to be solved, we think about how online and blended learning ‘cross’ and contribute to each other
  9. 9. Which means we should: Not just look to the blended classroom to ‘fix’ online learning because it brings teacher and student ‘face-to-face’
  10. 10. But instead try to: Think beyond the idea that online must replicate onsite
  11. 11. Some Practical Advice
  12. 12. Creating Digital Presence
  13. 13. Authority is contested so craft an expert identity
  14. 14. Create opportuinities for students to experience Legitimate Peripheral Participation
  15. 15. (and force it to happen)
  16. 16. Bodies matter
  17. 17. Body Language/ Gesture 68% Tone 30% Words 7%
  18. 18. In the design studio teaching is a hybrid of talk, gesture, affect (like the tasting face here) as well as words
  19. 19. “The lecture is never simply oral, although in its modern form, it constantly and increasingly seeks to give this illusion” (Friesen 2011)
  20. 20. • Be around – respond to students as much as you can • Make your feedback availible to all students • Always answer questions within 24 hours • Create an “instructors office” to anchor the class • Let your students know when you will be around • Consider utilizing chat functions • Hold office hours for F2F contact
  21. 21. Dealing with Silence
  22. 22. The online classroom is silent by default and the teachers pedagogic power is curtailed —we cannot force students to speak
  23. 23. Onsite silence has a “conscious, self aware and active dimension” (Friesen 2011) and is used to provoke a response from students
  24. 24. Online, silence is brutal
  25. 25. Onsite Silence allows students to walk along the path of reasoning alongside the teacher — making them more active participants
  26. 26. • Ask leading questions that prompt a response • Signal presence by posting something every day • Lead the way by posting first • Make space non-class focused interaction
  27. 27. Student Engagement
  28. 28. Hegemonic Overlord (Webster 2004)
  29. 29. The Entertainer (Webster 2004)
  30. 30. Liminal Servant (Webster 2004)
  31. 31. Without students present online teaching and learning is unavoidably a closed conversation and the online teacher becomes a ‘hegemonic overlord’
  32. 32. Video chat (and QA) allows back and forth question and answer, and open-ended talk that makes online teachers more of a ‘liminal servant’
  33. 33. Some more thoughts on maximizing student engagement
  34. 34. • Audio and screen capture feedback is more personal • Require (force) students to actively comment and benchmark themselves against their peers • Use ‘liking’ or ‘voting’ technologies if you can • Establish a flow — using weekly discussion topics • Leverage the “mediatic dynamics” of the lecture (think Ted Talks and Podcasts)
  35. 35. Thanks for listening :)
  36. 36. Questions?

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