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      Session Spotlight: 10 Ways to Make Online Learning More Engaging

      If you ask a dozen people to define “student engagement,” it’s likely you'll produce a dozen different definitions, with varying degrees of overlap. In practice, however, it means creating course content and assessments that are meaningful in how they espouse contextual narratives and that intrinsically motivate learning and mastery of course competencies and student outcomes. Coming from an instructional design and edtech background, I like to approach student engagement by incorporating elements of multimedia and technology. 

      In the grand scheme of things, online learning is still nascent—and even the most veteran institutions to offer online education had to start somewhere. That somewhere was likely an iteration of traditional delivery methods (lectures, slideshows, attendance, etc.). In the early days, course developers created vast repositories of information dumped onto course pages with links to documents, PDFs, websites, and perhaps a bullet-point-laden slideshow. We inaccurately called these online data dumps “learning environments.” Through trial, a lot of error, and continuous refinement, online learning has burgeoned into a rich milieu of interactivity, engagement, and achievement. 

      My CanvasCon Online session, "10 Ways to Make Online Learning More Engaging," will help new and veteran online teachers identify and address many of the gaps that exist between what students expect from their online courses and what we deliver. We'll discuss the following:

      1. As you prepare to teach online this coming year, what are some key strategies to introduce to your course curriculum, and what are you currently doing that you should consider revising in order to be even more successful?   
      2. What are the strategies and techniques that you can easily use to build a community of learners in your class and enhance both teaching and learning?
      3. What are some of the pitfalls of student engagement, and how can you structure your course in a way that optimizes classroom success?

      I've attended and presented at both CanvasCon and InstructureCon events, and I eagerly anticipate them each year. This will be my eighth conference, and I can't wait to explore the new format. While I look forward to our in-person gatherings in the future, I believe this virtual conference will be a unique opportunity to connect with an even broader audience of colleagues from around the world.