Student engagement and participation in online learning (Part 2)

This is the second in a two-part series, where this second post will look at what can students do to be a successful online learner. The first post looked at what strategies an instructor can use to increase student engagement in online courses.

Listed below are some strategies that an online learner should keep in mind when participating in an online course.

3Rs: relevant, rigour, relationship  (Littky, 2004)
Consider what is relevant to you, the rigour at which you would like to immerse yourself in the course, and the relationship that you want to maintain with the content, peers and the facilitator.

Be digitally proficient
Be prudent in selecting and using of learning technologies to access, organise, share and communicate information. Always consider the appropriate, efficient and effective use of technology, and develop the basic skills needed to participate in the course.

Establish your online identities and find peers to interact in that space
Project your personal characteristics (as a real person) into the learning community. The ability of learners “to project their personal characteristics into the community, thereby presenting themselves to other participants as ‘real people’”. When all three elements of presence – the social, the teaching and the cognitive – interact, then you will be able to experience deep and meaningful learning. (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000).

Engage in active sharing
It is important for you to be actively sharing information & resources that are interesting to you with your peers. This mutual exchange of information is key to learning in an online course. You can use blogs, wikis,  and twitter to reflect on your learning and share them with your peers as this will help you in creating a learning community for yourself.

Make the most of online discussions 
Discussion forum is where most of the staff-student and student-student interaction happens, and is usually the best way to connect with your classmates and facilitators. Respond with meaningful messages to gain the most from these discussions.

Maintain motivation and independence
Find something that will help keep you motivated throughout the online course. Identify and  develop personal techniques to stay engaged, and draw up a self-motivation plan.

Be persistent and stay committed 
Have a schedule, an activity tracker, and plan your participation accordingly – when you participate regularly and make progress each day, you will be  on your road to completing the course. Ask for help from facilitators or peers when you encounter technical issues or other challenges.


This is the second in a two-part series, where the first post looks at what strategies that an instructor can use to increase student engagement in online courses, and this second post looks at what can students  do to be a successful online learner. 




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