Connecting during COVID: How can you repurpose your teaching toolbox

By: Courtney Pham, Senior Marketing Instructor, Missouri State University

2020 was a challenging year. The pandemic struck quickly, furiously and unexpectedly in the global community and the affected industries around the globe simultaneously.
Many organizations were forced to rethink their communication and operating procedures. Many organizations adopted the democratic approach of asking employees for their opinions.
These organizations then listened to the results and adapted their work practices to maintain productivity. Listening alone is not enough to solve the problem unless there is a clear goal.
Here’s how it works in the academic environment.
Online and college learning
The US saw many educational institutions debate how to reopen with the possibility of facing the “twindemic.”
Zoom and other digital tools have become a necessity to connect with and accommodate the increasing number of online students.
This presented a challenge to some instructors as it added another layer of communication barriers. Students who felt discouraged struggled to stay active because of the physical disconnect between students and instructors.
Student Engagement: Increasing
Many faculty members are well-trained with digital tools to help their students learn synchronously or asynchronously.
However, research shows that if students are presented with some interrelated activities in any teaching pattern, then students’ engagement level–be it cognitive, emotional, or behavioral–amplifies in the classroom.
This can improve students’ attitudes towards online classes. This value can be added to the teaching toolkit by instructors who help students connect learnings to their everyday lives. It is essential to establish a rapport with students and get to know them to bring these concepts to life.
Instructors are responsible for keeping students engaged in online courses and on track.
These quick tips will help you encourage student engagement online.
Online Learning Tips
You can get to know your students and their interests by regularly communicating with them to discuss topics.
You can organize synchronous discussions by integrating modern technologies (e.g. Zoom, Echo360, etc.).
To encourage competition among students, offer incentives like extra credits for attending synchronous discussions.
Encourage students’ progress by providing timely and consistent feedback
Keep Learning: On-Demand Webinar
Want to learn more about online instruction and engagement? This recording of the webinar Creating Strategic & Conscious Business Leaders is available.
Holly Hapke from the University of Kentucky and I share online learning strategies that combine technology and teaching style to increase student engagement.