How to Engage Students Online and Keep Them on Track

keep your students on schedule
Peer Advice & Teaching Tips
Reading Time: 3 minutes

You may feel disconnected from your students in an online environment — but you don’t have to be. Engage students in your online course with these six tips to keep your students on track.

 

1) Engage Students with Short, Frequent Assignments

Each week schedule a few short assignments to regularly engage students in course topics and ensure they’re practicing throughout the week.

 

2) Reward Progress & Practice

Motivate your students by highlighting their progress, instead of imposing penalties. Review your course and consider the following.

  • Award Partial Credit for Question Attempts: Within your assignment settings you can award credit for students attempting questions, even if they get them wrong. As a result, your students will attempt every question, even if they’re more difficult.
  • Assign Personal Study Plan for Extra Credit: The Personal Study Plan (PSP) is a great resource to encourage independent student learning, when available. The PSP can be assigned for a grade, or an extra credit assignment to reward students who study.

 

3) Encourage Students to Complete Assignments on Time

There are several ways you can encourage your students to stay on track with their assignments and submit them on time.

  • Encourage students to enable email reminders: WebAssign allows students to customize their notification settings to email them about upcoming due dates, announcements and course changes.
  • Reward early completion of assignments: Prevent students from procrastinating by awarding bonus points to students who submit their assignment early.
  • Clearly communicate your extension policy: Your extension policy within WebAssign is fully customizable and has the ability to allow manual extensions as well as automatic extension requests from students. Automatic extensions are approved if the request meets the criteria you’ve determined within your settings. Manual extensions are sent to you individually for approval. Reduce the number of questions and requests from students by clearly communicating your policy.
  • Reward students who never use extensions: At the end of the semester, you can view all granted extensions to identify and provide extra credit to students who completed 100% of their work on time.

 

4) Review Class Insights to Identify Areas for Student Support

Make sure your class is mastering the topics by reviewing Class Insights regularly.  Consider giving your class extra assignments, video lessons or practice opportunities  on topics that WebAssign has flagged as areas of concern. In addition, you can direct specific students to topics in the Personal Study Plan if available, for individual support.

 

5) Don’t Let Students Jump Ahead

Pace your course the way you normally teach by adjusting WebAssign’s scheduling and assignment settings to keep students focused. We recommend you:

  • Pay Attention to the Assignment Available Date: Within your assignment scheduler, you can set the date each assignment is available to students. Pace your assignments by limiting the number available each week to ensure students don’t jump ahead.
  • Utilize Conditional Release: Conditional release is a great tool when you want to make sure students fully understand a topic before moving forward. With conditional release, you can set a specific score students need to achieve before moving forward. You can even grant access to the following assignment after a specific date.

 

6) Schedule Progress Checks to Initiate Conversation

Incorporate specific assignments and student-teacher meetings to ensure you check in with students and communicate how they’re doing.

  • Schedule short, frequent quizzes: By scheduling short quizzes frequently, students are continually evaluated on their knowledge and can identify topics that need work.
  • Require at least one instructor-student meeting: You can hold virtual office hours and require students to attend at least one session, and coordinate a time to meet using a private message in WebAssign. Prior to these meetings, ask students to review their Class Insights and be prepared to discuss trouble topics. On your end, you can view performance by student and give them a few additional areas to work on.

 

 

Looking for More Tips?

Transitioning to a virtual or hybrid course especially mid semester can be stressful – let us help! Keep in mind the following resources that are available to you.