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eTutoring - Top Tips for Engaging Students

David Hopkins, Lianne Hutchings, and Karen Thompson of the Business School, Bournemouth University, outline 10 (top) tips for designing and engaging students in effective online learning.

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eTutoring - Top Tips for Engaging Students

  1. 1. eTutoring: Top Tips for Engaging Students Karen Thompson, Lianne Hutchings, & David Hopkins Business School 1. Design for learning 5. Explain the goals Online delivery needs to be designed around what you want the students to do. Material can often be adapted from face-to-face teaching, but needs to engage students who are studying remotely. Make it very clear what you expect students to do and why - for the unit as a whole and for each activity. Identify what’s in it for them e.g. marks, underpins assessment etc. Provide opportunities for students to assess their own progress towards the goals. 2. Plan ahead 8. Force use of forums Aim to model the behaviour you wish to see from students and plan your interventions accordingly. Make sure you are thoroughly familiar with the core material before the unit starts. Once the unit starts you can make core material come alive by including current news items for discussion. Insist students use discussion forums for all questions and discussions, so that ideas are shared and your email is reduced. Answer individual emails and, if its not personal, put Q&A on the unit support forum (each unit should have one). Subscribe to all forums yourself and encourage your students to do so too. 3. Diarise your time 9. Make frequent announcements Create your own timetable for eTutoring and put this into your calendar. Put a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door to prevent interruptions. Include time for planning, making announcements, contributing to discussions and providing feedback. 4. Make it personal Introduce yourself and set clear expectations for what students can expect from you and what you expect from them, particularly frequency of contributions. Post a holding announcement to make it clear when the unit starts and explain any preparation students should be doing. Don’t overstretch yourself – you can always do more than you’ve indicated but never less. 7. Incentivise Use marks to encourage participation – note that marking criteria need to be clear. Define pre-requisite activities for assessment and make the rules explicit. Spell out the correlation between participation and grades. You need to have a strong presence in the virtual world. Two or three announcements per week as a minimum. Use announcements to start activities, encourage participation, stimulate debate, provide feedback and close activities. Include a link to the forum for questions. 6. Understand strengths and limitations Yours and the students’. Prompt students to share ideas and to critique their own work by using generic feedback, FAQs, model answers, marking criteria etc. Encourage students to use their experience as well as theory. Students appreciate tasks grouped together and discussions spread over two weeks. 10. Feedback and reinforce Provide feedback covering what has gone well and scope for improvement. Address content and process. Reinforce collaboration by sharing tips, your ideas, suggestions for application etc. Invite feedback on the unit through a feedback forum and always respond promptly to comments made. And finally ... make sure you do what you said you will do!