Tag: student

Methods of Energizing and Motivating Students

Instructors may not always know with certainty why students are struggling but at the heart of most issues is a willingness to keep trying and work on continued self-development, even when it requires them to acquire new knowledge or skills. What instructors can do is to develop a set of proactive instructional strategies that are encouraging in nature and supportive of students’ attempts and progress.

The following some methods have been implemented in my own teaching practice and what I have helped to coach online faculty with through my work with faculty development.

Build Productive Relationships.

While this should go without saying for any class, whether it is a traditional or online class, relationships with students always matters. It can have a direct impact on their ability to feel comfortable asking for assistance when needed and that can alert the instructor to potential problems. But developing this type of relationship in a virtual environment isn’t easy and a class that lasts only a few weeks can make it even more difficult.

How a relationship begins is with the attitude an instructor holds and it continues with an ongoing intent to be helpful and approachable. Students must know that their instructors care about them.

Carefully Manage Your Communication.

All forms of communication that instructors have with their students matter and must be cultivated with care that the intent of message is clearly made and the tone is not likely to be perceived in a negative manner.

When responding to a student, whether by email or a post in the classroom, it should not be done hastily or when an emotional reaction is felt. The reason why this is so important is that a negative interaction can be de-motivating to a student and a series of these types of interactions can cause a student to disengage from the class.

Be Present, Available, and Accessible. 

If students are to stay engaged in the class and perform to the very best of their abilities they need to know that their instructor is readily available to assist them whenever they need help. This doesn’t mean an instructor has to be on call at all times or answer questions as soon as they are posted; however, there needs to be an established pattern that students can rely upon.

I’ve found it helpful to have multiple methods of contact that includes email, instant messaging, weekly office hours, sharing my phone number for times when students need immediate assistance, and posting a questions thread in the classroom. This allows me to develop connections with students and it can be very motivating for them to know I am accessible.

Help Make Certain that Students are Adequately Prepared.

 I’ve found that academic under-preparedness can be extremely detrimental to the mindset that new students hold as they attempt to navigate the course and the requirements they are expected to complete. Even as established students make progress through their degree program they may still struggle with areas of development that can create a mental barrier and ultimately lead to a sense of defeat if they do not receive assistance.

What I’ve done is to share resources that address students’ specific developmental needs in the feedback provided and if I find sources that may benefit the entire class, I’ll share it in a separate classroom post. I’ve found that the more students feel equipped to complete their tasks, the more confident they will be as they make an attempt to do so.

Develop and Use Proactive Outreach Strategies.

It is imperative that an instructor always be aware of the classroom conditions and more importantly that they are aware of students who are not actively involved and present in class. It may be helpful to establish a mental baseline for expected performance and over time an experienced instructor develops an instinct for student engagement.

A discussion thread is one way to gauge if students are disengaging from the class. When I discover a student who isn’t posting messages or they are continuing to struggle with their written assignments, I’ll make outreach attempts. First I’ll send an email and try to engage them and if that isn’t successful I’ll make a phone call so that the student doesn’t completely disengage from class. I’ve learned that a personalized approach will go a long ways towards helping students sustain their self-motivation.

Strategies to Keep Students Engaged in Class

Defining the Concept of Student Engagement

When educators define the nature of student engagement it is usually done from a tangible (what is seen) perspective and this can be a subjective assessment. For example, if a student is posting participation online messages most every day of the week you might say they are highly engaged. The question is how active does a student have to be to meet these criteria? If they are posting messages on five days is that the same level of engagement as a student who is posting on six days? As a general guideline it can be assessed by how invested students appear to be in their class. This includes their involvement in discussions, asking questions, submitting assignments on time, and how responsive they are to other students and their instructor. If a student is going to be considered highly engaged in class, an instructor needs to observe several visual cues.

Why Does Student Engagement Matter?

Engagement matters because it indicates that students are involved in the class. When students are fully engaged, a distance education class begins to feel like a community. If students are not actively involved in their class, especially an online class, they can easily disengage, lose interest, and eventually withdraw. If the instructor doesn’t intervene, these students may drop the course and a continual pattern like this may also lead to disengagement from their degree program. Visual cues are important then because they are indicators of how involved students are in the process of learning. These cues include qualities such as their level of effort, along with their responsiveness to feedback, communication, and coaching.

Discover How to Measure Student Engagement

When visual cues are interpreted it is often done in a subjective manner, looking at more than a student’s tangible work product or written papers. The purpose of measuring engagement in the class is to raise an educator’s conscious awareness of students and keep track of their involvement. It is easy to become so busy managing class operations and discussions that students who are not present end up being overlooked when they are not actively present. For those instructors who are detail minded they can create a spreadsheet and track the progress of their students. Some learning management systems provide analytics that allow an instructor to check on the progress of students in the course. The purpose of doing this is to pay attention to your students and how they are progressing.

Always Be Engaged in Your Class

For instructors, being highly engaged in an online class requires proactive effort and involvement. It is possible to catch struggling students before they are disengaged; however, it can be challenging because keeping track of students does take time. If you are allocating only enough time to complete the required facilitation tasks, you may find that isn’t adequate for taking time to contact students and conduct outreach.

One of the first steps you can take is to develop a standard of acceptable engagement for an average student. By developing this standard, you can observe patterns and reach out to your students as needed. Overall, it is necessary to establish a plan for conscious awareness of your students if you want to keep them involved. Student engagement in an online class is related to their involvement in the learning process, their retention in a degree program, and it is a contributing factor to their overall success.

As an instructor, you have a direct impact on how your students perform. Take the lead, show them how to be highly engaged, and demonstrate that you care when they are starting to disengage. It may take more of your time, but teaching and nurturing the development of your students will require time and effort on your part. While you may not see the immediate outcome of your efforts, if a student remains engaged in the course, you will have had a direct impact on their lifelong learning experience and this is likely why you became an educator to begin with – to make a positive contribution towards the academic growth and development of your students.

Digital Student Portals

Collaboration

There is a constant notion we accuse computers or digital devices with is ‘isolation’. This can be very prominently dismissed now as even our grandparents are a part of online social networks, commenting on our updates. This human-to-human collaboration is what digitization has brought, making distances smaller and interactions richer. Benefiting the digital learning and ensures 100% participation of students for online classroom courses or interaction. One gets access to people from various communities, ideologies, and background. Communicating, bringing a richer learning experience. For example, your CAT preparation could be easier as now you can know which method is best for faster calculations for larger digit multiplications, even though there is the data on it online. You have a live feedback!

Digital Archives

If we expand the horizon of anytime anywhere access and collaboration, we encounter yet another benefit of digital student portals: Digital Archives. When collaboration over a posted conversation takes place, students start uploading their data or notes onto the portals. This gives rise to archives. Students led by teachers in today’s classrooms use a growing range of web 2.0 applications to share and publish relevant academic material. The work is produced for an authentic audience and has better validation in forms of comments and replies. In this way, a library is created that is not restricted by space or topic but a global archive to help any student achieve their goals.

Online Communities

Collaboration and digital archives inevitably give rise to communities of online learners – that breathes life into educators and student careers and interests. The experience often begins by joining a discussion or signing into a portal, then contributing to it, getting inspired or being challenged and then sharing notes and being seen as an inspired in that very segment. The vitality with which interactions and discussions happen is extremely contagious and is a gift to the student community. Especially when one is studying for an exam and needs a quick tip or two!

Online Statistics Tools for Students

SPSS

Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) is a software that has been launched by the IBM. This data is useful for the students as it allows them to do data entry and create various tables along with graphs to analyse the data thoroughly. This software is much applicable to the social sciences and buzz world, where the data to be managed, is move and calculations are lengthy. It can be easily installed on a computer running any version of Windows as well as for desktops having an open source operating system. The data is entered through the worksheet, and the various options are present to work on the data. For example, under the data option, you will have a list that includes multiple formats of searching, sorting and arranging it. Also, there is a choice of graphs that allows the user to plot graphs of different types depending upon the requirement of data. It is a Graphical User Interface (GUI), and no written commands are required. The only selection has to be made.

Stata

Stata is statistical analysis software developed in 1982 by StataCorp LP. Apart from data analysis, the software embeds a broad range of services like data management, plotting graphs, provides exact case-control statistics and various tests along with their predictions. This a list of the main features of Stata. There is much more to the software which in turn allows the quick processing of the data. Just one click and the data entered in the worksheet gets converted into a graph or a chart depending upon the requirement of the calculation. The software is available for almost all versions of various operating systems and thus is considered to be flexible. Varying versions of the software is available for ever-changing needs of the users. For example, some might use Stata/SE for large data sets while some of the users might be interested in using it for multiprocessor computers called Stata/MP. Thus, students can buy the version depending on their needs and data analysis.

MS Excel

Microsoft Excel is a program that contains spreadsheets allowing the users to enter numerical values and formulae for calculations. This software is marked as highly useful for statistical calculations. It includes a list of methods and thus allows the users to just select the row and formula. There might be some methods that are no included in the list, but they can be appended manually by the user. Here is an additional feature which makes it all the more suitable for the users. It contains a list of different graphs that can be included in the calculation process making it easy for the user to display the results. In addition to the basic designs, there are a lot of new types of graphs included in the list. The pages are called spreadsheets and are in a tabular format. The users can work simultaneously on different sheets, and the collection of sheets is known as a work book. The users have to install the entire package of Microsoft Office for Excel to work properly. It is mainly available for Windows users.

Minitab 17

Here is one of the leading statistical software which was established in the year 1972. It is one of the most widely used software because all the great companies and colleges are using it. As per a survey, almost 90% of the total business firms and approximately 4000 colleges and universities are using this software for analysing their statistical data. This software is the highest version of the Minitab launched initially. This software is useful for even those who do not have any experience of the statistics. The software includes two main analyses namely, Design of Experiments and Multiple Regression. Apart from these new features, the users get access to the regular analysis methods like capability analysis hypothesis chart and control charts. Minitab 17 has gained acceptance around the globe, and for the same reason, the company has launched the product in various regional languages like French, English, German, Spanish and Chinese. The prompt customer support system is the backbone of the success story of Minitab 17.

R software

R is a termed as an open source programming language along with being software. It is specially designed for the statistical analysis of data along with providing graphical interpretations that are supported by R foundations only. It was developed with the motive of providing free availability of statistical analysis tool. It is an open source language and software that means it can be used to develop statistical tools along with providing them itself. It is mainly a command based software and less of GUI that makes it a bit tough to use. Thus, it is less popular these days as long codes are required to execute the statistical analysis and consumes time. However, for those who have a passion for programming in statistics, R acts as a blessing in disguise. It is possible for them to play with numbers and figures.