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Effective strategies to support online learning and student engagement

Harbaugh, A.G. (2012) Effective strategies to support online learning and student engagement. In: Teaching and Learning Forum 2012: Creating an inclusive learning environment: Engagement, equity, and retention, 2 - 3 February 2012, Murdoch University, Murdoch, W.A


Students enrolled in online and external units are more likely to withdraw from the unit before completion than students enrolled in traditional delivery units. Adult students often desire the freedom provided by external units, but many are not prepared to engage with the unit activities because of a lack of skills in self-regulatory learning. Furthermore, while some students engage in online learning because of the sense of independence (or isolation), many students observe that the lack of interaction with other students alters the learning in less than desirable ways. This research project examines the effectiveness of structured peer assessments and guided discussion activities as a means to increase motivation levels, autonomous learning skills and a sense of connectedness with other students in the unit. A reflective analysis of the assessment and class activities for an external unit in tertiary and adult education was conducted as a pilot study for a larger project exploring effective strategies to support online students and increase retention rates. Preliminary results suggest that innovative uses of information and communication technologies (ICTs) can support students by creating a sense of community among the learners and by introducing skills for self-regulated learning. This presentation will discuss these findings, but participants will also be asked to share their experiences-both successful and challenging-with establishing community and student engagement in online or hybrid delivery units.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
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