Instructional Strategies


Engaging Online Students

Student working on laptop

While most of the information on teaching effectiveness pertains to both RI and online classrooms, following are a few key points for online courses.

In online education, we generally talk about three types of engagement: student-to-student, student-to-content and student-to-instructor. Just as you would in an RI classroom, vary what you do in your online course to incorporate these different types of engagement.

Engagement Examples Include:


  • group assignments
  • discussions
  • peer reviews
  • debates
  • role-playing exercises
  • student-led discussions or
  • student-led exam-reviews

Authentic Assessments

The instructor provides examples for the students to prepare them for problems that they will need to solve as part of the homework assignment.


  • quizzes
  • discussions
  • games
  • writing assignments
  • reflections
  • lab simulations
  • presentations
  • eportfolios
  • research
  • using a variety of content and technology
  • Make sure you’re using tools and technology because they are necessary—not just because you can use them.
  • offering choices on assignments
  • authentic assignments (ask students to do something closely related to how they will use their new knowledge in the real world)
  • concept mapping (students create a visual representation of models, ideas and relationships between concepts)
  • student-generated study guides or quiz and exam questions
  • videos of guest speakers or virtual field trips