Utilize Engaged, Active Learning Strategies

  • Moving from the "sage on the stage" to "guide on the side". Get students involved in discussions and participating with each other.
    • I have used project-based learning to promote student engagement. I use "real" datasets from my research projects, and teach different geochemical and petrologic techniques focused on studying a single subduction zone complex, for example.
  • Metacognition builds engagement. Teaching students how to learn.The Role of Metacognition in Learning »
  • Do things that get students away from the screen and out into the world.
    • Taking Pictures and Field Trips to upload
    • Service Learning Projects
  • Providing different "kinds" of activities is helpful to keep students engaged. Individual assignments as well as group assignments, video/audio lectures in addition to PPT slides or reading material, animations and interactive activities discussing geologic processes and features, hands-on activities, opportunities to get out in their local community (e.g. build a scale model of the solar system in their backyard, check the closest stream for stream features, get involved in a service learning activity, visit the local landfill or water treatment plant or quarry, etc).
  • Challenging assignments. Weaker and busier students may not like them in-the-moment but they can drive engagement - with material, with instructors, with fellow students. Engagement should not be a struggle, but struggle (if not overwhelming) can foster engagement - and deeper learning.
  • Another important point for engaging and motivating the students is to make the course interactive.
Blair Larsen, Utah State University
"In my online class, students engage with the course by utilizing problem-based learning, peer interaction, and faculty interaction. This class also requires students to apply what they have learned, and to reflect on their learning - both of which keep students engaged in the course."