Engaging Students Online
In face-to-face environments, students and staff are usually clear in how they interact with each. They can use non-verbal feedback cues to agree on a positive atmosphere for teaching and learning. In virtual teaching spaces, agreeing a code of conduct (or ‘rules of engagement’) helps to ensure a similarly positive environment.
Socialisation within the learning community is an important aspect of student learning. In face-to-face (or in-person) teaching, connections within the learning community between students and staff, and amongst students, happens organically when they physically meet in lecture halls, labs and other teaching spaces. However, without the surroundings of the University, learning can be a solitary experience. Creating a ‘social presence’ online requires distinct scaffolding but can play a key role in student engagement and motivation when in an online environment.