Adding Game Elements to Your Online Course

There’s a growing body of evidence that indicates the educational benefits of game-based learning. Although some courses are likely to be more conducive to a game-based approach, it’s helpful to consider how game elements might enhance the learning experience.In an interview with Online Classroom, Clare Parsons, English lecturer at the University of Maryland, College Park, highlighted several game elements and explained how she uses them in her online and blended courses.

Fostering Personal Connections for a Better Online Learning Environment

Before her online courses begin, Susanne Chuku, assistant professor of economics at Westfield State University, sends each of her students a personal welcome email. “I like to write their names so they know that I took the time to email them personally rather than send a single email addressed to all of them.” It sets a welcoming tone in which students—typically half of them—feel comfortable enough to share additional information about themselves, including, often their struggles with the subject matter. “This is my first step in getting to know them. It’s the first opportunity they have to talk to me, and I feel it lowers the barrier between the instructor and the students.

Is Your Online Course Layout User-Friendly?

A person will attempt to complete a task in an unfamiliar environment until frustration hits a critical level, according to user experience research. Frustrated online learners may abandon assignments or drop courses. This is why it’s important to understand how the student experiences the course. One way to accomplish this is through basic user-experience assessment, which does not require an extensive background in Web design, just a willingness to take learners’ perspectives into consideration when designing course elements and assignments.

Online Advising Strategies to Promote Student Retention

Effective advising is an essential component of student retention efforts. Most advising programs advocate positive relationships with students centered on remediation reduction, intrusive advising, and strengths-based advising methods designed to help students achieve academic and professional goals (Glennen & Baxley, 1985; Schreiner & Anderson, 2005). Advising protocols typically involve disseminating essential information to students regarding institutional policies, degree-specific courses, student services, post-baccalaureate options, careers, organizations, community resources, research opportunities, and study skills to improve student retention. This article offers several Web-based strategies to facilitate this communication and promote academic persistence of online learners.

Online Learning 2.0: Study Aids for Students

You can do your students a world of good in either your face-to-face or online courses by spending some time teaching process issues in your classes. Start by polling your students on how they study. You will likely find a wide variety of methods. You can then comment on these methods, talking about why each would or would not work. Most importantly, you can talk about how you studied for exams, and why it worked. This information will be invaluable to helping your students succeed.

Tips from the Pros: Online Learner Engagement Is Not Always Obvious

A great deal of research supports the notion that student engagement is correlated with student success. But it’s not always easy to gauge an online learner’s level of engagement because some students may be engaged in the course without posting much to the discussion board. A recent study by Angelique Hamane and Farzin Madjidi, both of Pepperdine University, indicates that the frequency of students’ visits to the discussion board—not necessarily of their posting to it—is correlated with student success.