The online classroom can be challenging when it comes to engagement and presence. Students often enter the online classroom nervous, not just about content but about the practicalities of learning in the online environment. As an instructor, it is important to know that your students are motivated to attend your course and eager to learn the subject topic. Online classrooms optimized to success, regardless of the learner profile, will share these key traits and characteristics:
Initially, students need to feel a connection. They need to feel connected to you as an instructor, and they need to feel connected to your classroom.
As we connect, we need to ensure we are being consistent. It is very important to avoid students getting a “bad connection”—a la “Can you hear me now?”
Being consistent allows us to place our students’ focus on course content. Research conducted in partnership with Every Learner Everywhere has shown that students moving from in-person to online classroom formats find connecting with content more difficult online.
Additionally, the opportunity for community must be a clear goal for online classes and programs. Colleges have long known that creating effective community ties students to the school and enhances learning.