Student engagement and collaboration

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When it comes to online learning environments, there’s the perception that forming connections and getting students engaged with the course content and their peers is incredibly difficult or impossible without an in-person component. However, the popularity and use of social media platforms demonstrate how online environments can be effective in drawing people in, networking, and sharing ideas and information. 

Regardless of whether you are presenting face-to-face or through Canvas, the key is communication. Video presentations (e.g., TedTalksLinkedin tutorials, etc.), podcast series, or commentary and articles with the widest reach tell stories that are easy to follow, using plain English that make them accessible to a large audience and convey why their topic is important and relevant to the viewer/listener. Having a strong narrative for your course topics with clear instructions of what to do and how it will apply to future assessment or workplace success, will give reason and motivation to your students. 

Unlike face-to-face classrooms where teachers can get a sense of whether their students are interested, bored, or confused by looking around the room and making immediate adjustments to their delivery, this is much more difficult to do in an online setting. Having multiple points for students to engage and discuss the content can address this issue. Ask students questions during an online session, break them up into smaller groups to talk about what is being covered, have learning activities for them to practice and drop-in sessions for targeted questions, encourage them to contact you directly if they’re struggling, get them to organise their own online study groups, and set-up discussion forums on the topics for students to post, comment, and questionThis is iline with how flexible delivery promotes the use of different types of learning materials and offers greater freedom as to when students access content. 

For teachers not wholly comfortable with online platforms themselves, this is a great opportunity to learn from your students to discover what works, what doesn’t, and how to improve your delivery. Get their feedback on how the different Canvas and Collaborate Ultra tools and features are being used. As it can be hard to openly critique someone else’s work, ask students to do a self-assessment of their own participation and how they’re interacting with the course. This can provide insight into your students, what they’re comfortable with, their workloads, any accessibility concerns, etc. By welcoming students to have their say and integrating their feedback, you are fostering engagement and collaboration. They become partners in the design of your course and their own student journeys, a big part of student-centred learning. 

To learn more about the features of Canvas and Collaborate Ultra for getting students engaged and collaborating, check out the latest examples and how-to videos in the Semester 2 Course Uplift page. You can also take part in the last two drop-in sessions with one of our Senior Learning Designers and Senior Multimedia Designers for answers to any specific questions you might have. 

JUL 1 Wed, 2.00 PM – 4.00 PM 

JUL 2 Thu, 10.30 AM – 12.30 PM 

JUL 7 Tue. 10.00 AM – 12.00 PM


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