Seeking to Engage

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2 Simple Ways to Better Engage Your Students

Have you known those people who can make an hour presentation feel like 10 minutes? …or those others who make an hour feel like 4? Well, work on being that first person; your students will thank you…and learn more. How? Here are a couple of principles for you: Simplify & Switch It Up –and Brightspace makes it easier than ever.

Simplify

In previous course design, the techNOlogy didn’t allow for ease of media integration. But, at least you had to click 4 or so extra times…oh wait, that wasn’t a positive either 😉 In Brightspace media integrates much more easily. Leverage this for student and engagement and retention of the material. What’s it look like?

This could look different depending upon the course, of course. But overall, simplify the path to your material. Brightspace allows the ease of uploading Word docs, Powerpoints, etc. directly into the LMS, so students do not waste time and momentum clicking, clicking, downloading, opening, yada, yada. In Brightspace, students can click once and your material is right in front of them. And if they want, they can download the files, but they can view material right away. In your module, select Upload/ Create > Upload Files, then you can select the file you from computer or even drag-and-drop it in the window provided for uploading. Once placed, you can rename it more appropriately if needed and/or drag it to the placement in the module you want. Easy. For videos, it’s similar. Select Upload/ Create > Video or Audio, then paste in the URL of the video you want students to view. Simple.

Switch It Up

Another help in addition to simplify the pathways for your students is to switch it up. Though the analogy is not super accurate, think of dual scuba tanks. But, in this analogy, we are filling them not breathing from them, and we’re not filling them with air. One tank is for “text” and the other is for “non-text.” Basically, if one of our tanks gets full, it blocks the inlet nullifying the use of the other tank. Yet, if we can switch tanks from time to time, learning fatigue s not nearly as much of a factor. Another picture might be bicycle tires. If one is overfilled (PoP!), the other one is of basically no use. Or, think of chopsticks. The two need to both be in play, pointing the same direction, guided by the same hand, etc. or taking in anything will be quite difficult. Switch it up. Integrating PowerPoints, videos, memes, and other images, etc. all help students to not get “full” of text depriving them of their remaining capacity for learning with the other tank, tire, chopstick, etc. Additionally, in an online environment, “chunking” material into smaller pieces (both visually on the page and in other presentation modes) increases the ability and likelihood of students swallowing and absorbing it. This too is a switching of text and space. Online, more spaces or breaks in the text facilitates reading. Another great thing about Brightspace is the ease of editing your written instructions, descriptions, etc. Simply click on the fold where you text is located, and it will transform into an editing window. So, if you paste in a relatively large amount of text, it’s easy to add an extra space between paragraphs to chunk it up for your students.

So, there you have it. In seeking to engage your students, simplify and switch it up. And, Brightspace makes both easy. Simply upload your files or media for 1-click viewing, and since media is much easier to integrate, change it up so your students can use both tanks.

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