Engagement in the Online Environment

The faculty member is responsible for providing students the knowledge and skills to succeed in their field.

Engaging students in the Online Environment is one way to provide students the opportunity to interact with and digest information in any course.

It is important for the faculty member to provide multiple and varying opportunities for students to interact and engage in the course.

Students will have different ways of learning and interpreting information. By providing multiple opportunities to interact with the information this gives the student more chances to interact and comprehend the course material.

Discussion Boards

Discussions are one way to get students to participate in the Online Environment. Discussions have the potential to build an online community within the course.

  • Traditional – Post a question or topic and have students respond.
  • Current Events – Post an article that is currently impacting the world and have students comment.
  • Tweet – Post a question or topic and have students respond in 280 characters or less with a hashtag.
  • Quescussion – Post a question and have students only respond with other questions.
  • Post It Parade – Provide a situation and have students post or generate ideas to solve the problem.
  • Case Studies – Provide a real-world case for students and have students analyze to come up with solutions.
  • Respond, React, Reply – Post a question or topic and have students respond to one another in this format.
  • Student-Generated Questions – Have students come up with and post questions they believe may appear on a quiz or exam.  
  • Pro/Con Grid – Post a question or topic and have students come up with a pro and a con. 

Group Activities

Group activities are another way to have students collaborate with each other, interact with the topics, and learn the material that is different from the traditional lecture format.

  • Peer Review – Have students provide feedback on assignments or papers.
  • Mentoring/Peer Coaching – Place students in pairs and have them support each other through the course. 
  • Puzzles – Split students into groups and provide clues about a subject and they have to determine what the topic is.
  • Think/Pair/Share –  Students think of a question or topic and in pairs discuss ideas or answers.
  • Social Annotation of Material – Split into groups and provide each group a topic. Have each group develop summary/main points of the topic and present material.
  • Fishbowl – Have a group of students participate in a discussion, have other students make comments on what they are observing in the discussion.

Additional Resources


The mission of the Rothwell Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence is to empower faculty members in their pursuit of professional growth through diverse offerings for the universal goal of student success.

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