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Student Engagement in Online Learning Environments: What Is It, How Do We Assess It and Does It Really Matter?

Date: 16 Sep 2022, Friday | Time: 1620 - 1750 | Track Type: Main Conference Workshop | Format: Face-to-face | Venue: Seminar Room L1-S3, Academia 

Speaker: Prof Nikos Mattheos   


Student engagement has been sought after like a "holy grail" in all sorts of classrooms and educational settings. Albeit difficult to define and even more difficult to measure, engagement is typically perceived as a critical condition promoting learning and reflecting the “attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion" of learners. If you think that assessing engagement in conventional classrooms was challenging enough, wait until you try to do it in an online learning environment! As student-centred online learning environments have challenged many conventional teaching norms, much of what we believe about student activity and behaviour needs to be revisited. How do we  assess student activity online and is there quality "engagement" as opposed to simple "attendance"? Even if so, is this a result of an "engaging" teacher? maybe an "engaging" learning environment? Or could it be just an individual expression of the students' own needs, priorities and choices which have to be respected in a "student-centred" environment?

This workshop will start with an interactive discussion of what is engagement and why does it matter to learning. We will aim to identify reliable as well as misleading indicators of engagement. Then we will discuss how online learning environments have challenged conventional teaching norms. Through examples from both free and fee-based online courses, we will review fundamental principles and characteristics of student behaviour and activity in online environments. Finally, we will discuss the new role of the online teacher as a "learning engineer" and we will outline successful practices into creating an "engaging" online learning environment. The session will also try to shed some light into how we perceive student engagement in large online learning environments, whether it matters and how we can influence it. Be mindful that you might receive more questions than answers and be prepared to... engage.

Learning Objective(s):

By the end of the workshop, attendees will be able to:

  • Discuss what is student engagement and why does it matter in the learning process.
  • Identify characteristics of student engagement in large online learning environments.
  • Engineer learning environments, which promote engagement or at least do not prevent it!

Target Audience
Educators and decision makers who are involved in the conception, design, execution and assessment of online courses for health professions  any field and at any level.


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