Delivering online coursework that gets students involved
Penn State announced on April 15, 2020, that its summer courses that year would be delivered in an online format instead of face-to-face. The timing provided roughly one month of preparation time for instructors to reformat their lessons and content for virtual delivery. To support that effort and equip faculty with best practices for online instruction, TLT developed its Engaging Student Series (ESS).
The ESS workshops were adapted from the BlendLT program and designed to help faculty explore opportunities to engage students in an online environment. The initial ESS consisted of four workshop sessions that focused on planning for student engagement and using synchronous content, asynchronous content, and assessment to engage students.
In its first four weeks of offerings, ESS attracted over 300 faculty, staff, and administrator attendees. That popularity and the continuing need to deliver engaging online coursework means that ESS will be offered again and expand to include additional workshops that will dive deeper into specific ways to engage students in the online space.
Up-to-date information on upcoming ESS topics, dates, and registration will be available online.
ESS Workshop Format
ESS’s online Zoom workshops include three-to-four short presentations. Within each one, participants will provide feedback and ask questions; participate in activities that model online synchronous interaction; and hold breakout room discussions with smaller groups of faculty.
After each workshop, all participants receive a follow-up email containing session recordings, slides, and links to resources mentioned during the sessions. The free and open ESS Pressbook is available which makes the program’s resources available to Penn State and the larger higher education community.
Future topics for the Engaging Students Series are determined by faculty feedback from session surveys. Our goal is to offer relevant and timely online engagement topics and resources to faculty.
“The Engaging Students Series showed me the unique pedagogical benefits of tools like Zoom and Google Docs by utilizing them during the sessions, both with the whole group and in breakout chat rooms. Due to the hands-on nature of these workshops, I now feel more prepared to use these platforms in both synchronous and asynchronous classes.”
Explore Other Professional Development Opportunities
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