In this day and age, creating an online course by simply uploading lectures and slides doesn't cut it. 

To foster interactive remote learning, educators must find creative and successful ways of increasing student engagement. This is key to the success of students and professors alike. 

Fortunately, with a plethora of resources and advanced technologies at your fingertips, creating an interactive online course has never been easier. Here are five ideas for how to make online learning more engaging.

1. Create an Open Communication System 

One of the keys to promoting engaged remote learning is to make space for student feedback and questions. 

This not only encourages student-teacher interaction, but it also gives educators the chance to streamline courses and clarify those subjects that students find confusing.

One way to effectively and effortlessly implement this is to give students a mid-term survey. In this format, students are afforded the chance to anonymously rate the course, note what's working well and/or highlight problem areas, and offer any suggestions for improvement.

2. Encourage Socialization

One issue that can arise in online learning is student isolation. 

When students aren't physically in one another’s presence, some may feel isolated, which can end up having detrimental effects on their capacity to learn as well as their overall well-being.

To combat this common problem, imbed social functions into your interactive online course. For example:

  • Commenting
  • Sharing
  • Group discussions
  • A teacher chat function

3. Diversify Your Delivery 

The more static course content is, the more students lose interest. One of the simplest ways to foster interactive online learning is to use multimedia materials. 

In addition to recorded lectures, try incorporating any of the following:

  • Digital flash cards
  • Interactive diagrams
  • Quizzes
  • Three-dimensional models
  • Games
  • Simulations

4. Be Conscious of Your Presence 

There’s a plethora of research to show that students struggle to learn when they're under stress. Causes of stress may include:

  • Tight deadlines
  • Upcoming exams
  • Interpersonal conflicts 
  • Current events

According to studies, the hormones and neurotransmitters released during and after a stressful event are major blocks to human learning and memory processing. 

Especially in a time such as this, preparing a warm atmosphere in which students can be as physically and emotionally regulated as possible is of utmost importance. Here are some tips:

  • Maintain eye contact in videos.
  • Speak in a relaxed and friendly tone.
  • Create an aesthetically pleasing and warmly lit background.
  • Share a personal item that represents an aspect of your life, such as a family photo.
  • Begin a session with a mindfulness exercise or by sharing a positive quote or song.

5. Consistently Check In With Students 

The best way to gauge how your students are processing material is to check in with them often. This practice also encourages participation and engagement. 

One way to go about this is to pause at appropriate intervals during a lecture and ask students to give a thumbs-up if they understand the material or a thumbs-down if they’re struggling with it. This is also a great time to open up the class for discussion or questions. 

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