Student Motivation


Approaches to Teaching

Faculty can motivate students to engage in course content by varying teaching strategies and using activities that engage students in deep learning. Remember, your motivation is contagious! Faculty who exhibit excitement for the learning experience, the material, and student success will help bolster students who experience challenges with the content.

Additional Considerations for Teaching Online

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

  • Establish an audio and video presence in your online and hybrid courses to help your students feel comfortable with you.
  • Communicate often and send regular (and frequent) announcements throughout the course when working remotely or in a hybrid modality.
  • Incorporate some type of discussion prompt in each week or module in online and hybrid modalities to generate conversation and deepen learning on what students are currently studying.
  • Provide timely and detailed responses to online discussion posts and assignments.
  • Remember that communication in an online course is key: utilize announcements, discussions, grading tools, emails and phone calls to motivate your students.
  • During the first four weeks, provide discussions, low-stakes quizzes or small assignments designed to prepare students for later, larger exams or assignments in your online course.
  • Check-in with students who are not participating.inclusive pedagogy icon
  • Because the ability to manage time is key to the motivation of online students, encourage them to:
    1. Set aside specific times each week to study, read and work within the online course.
    2. Ask for your assistance as soon as they need it.
  • Set up your course in Canvas with a clear, consistent flow so that students spend their time learning the material, not trying to find it. For instance:
    1. Pique students’ attention with an introduction or overview.
    2. List the learning objectives
    3. Provide the readings, lectures, videos or other content that students need to accomplish those learning objectives.
    4. Assess how well students have achieved the learning objectives with assignments, discussions, quizzes or other assessments.
  • Watch the Organization of an Online Course in Canvas video [2:09] to see one way to organize materials within modules in Canvas. You can also use the Module Development Worksheet to plan your online modules.