Teaching & Learning Tips

A collection of tips and tools designed to aid in transitioning instruction online.

Maximizing student engagement using simple technology when in crisis mode

Jul 22, 2020

CITL Instructor Story
Submitted by a faculty member in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

I was lucky to have had a scheduled meeting with Eric at CITL just before spring break, so my confidence was up a bit. I had a student with caption accommodations and felt that I could not produce full lecture videos with correct captions quickly enough. I typed notes under each power point slide... all information, comments, illustrative stories and also voice recorded my text for each slide via the power point function. I found that if students watched video lectures, they multi-tasked and then rather than watch again emailed me asking what part was important. With these "unfinished" videos - basically slides with text underneath and voice recording for each, students had to advance at their own pace. I found that this actually kept them more focused and they understood the material better.

This worked well for me as I was producing materials for three courses very quickly. With this success I went a step further and for students who had to miss synchronous discussions, I also made power point slide sets on which students were instructed to stay in edit mode and respond to discussion questions and share thoughts in text boxes that I had set up for their responses. Then they saved the file and uploaded as assignments on compass, where I could credit them for attendance and reply myself to their comments. The student response was great - I got more detail and deeper engagement from the students who often did not speak up in live discussion, and 100% participation on the return of these.

Don't feel that we have to produce the highest quality, most technically difficult and polished materials in time of crisis. Focus rather on truly engaging students. Find ways to "converse" even with those who have inconsistent wifi or share computers with siblings. I think students appreciate this.

For additional CITL Instructor stories, visit https://citl.illinois.edu/citl-101/teaching-learning/instructor-stories.