Engaging Students in the Online Classroom

The primary attraction of taking online courses—enjoying flexibility and convenience while earning a degree—draws many to undergraduate and graduate programs. We often hear that students appreciate the opportunity to study and learn at any time using an always-available online format. In addition to giving learners the opportunity to start a new career or advance their current one, online programs offer a chance to fully engage with the instructor and classmates.

Surprised that engagement is one of the strengths of distance learning? Many people, including potential students, find it to be an unexpected—but welcome—benefit, even more so than a traditional classroom environment.

Collaboration and Support

Online courses incorporate all coursework into a web-accessible format that enables students exchange ideas with their instructor and others in their class through interactive modes of communication. In these programs:

  • Collaborating online is common. Email and the Internet have been in general use for about 20 years, and online video and social media have opened up new communication channels around the world. Informal, daily online communication is now the norm, including chatting with people you’ve never met. Most people feel comfortable communicating this way, and they welcome discussion from others as a way to access new information.
  • Communicating online leads to thoughtful discussions. Putting your comments in writing where they will be read and commented on by others is different from speaking in a classroom. Writing something down on paper or typing on a keyboard can’t be done as effectively as speaking, which means you have the opportunity to think about what you’re “saying” before you say it. You can discuss an issue without interruption, and then see what replies you receive and how they extend the conversation.
  • Small groups and whole classroom dialogs increase student participation. Studies have shown that learning in a group helps students develop better critical thinking skills, become more reflective when sharing information, and process that information more readily than in an aural, lecture-only environment. As students take their classmates’ and instructor’s thoughts under consideration, decide how to divide tasks among the members of groups, and ensure that projects are completed on time, they are also learning how to manage people and data, which is essential for being a member of the modern workforce, no matter your career or position.

Lindenwood Online recognizes that the benefits of online learning extend far beyond flexibility and convenience. We offer three undergraduate and 10 graduate online programs in areas that promise career growth now and in the future. Call us today at 636-373-7719 to learn more.