Engage Online Learners Early

Do you struggle with engaging your online learners in their discussion posts before your weekly deadline??

Prior to teaching my first online course, I struggled with the concept of encouraging students to post early and often to the required online discussion boards. Denise Hansel, TD Guru, and I were discussing this challenge and she suggested offering a weekly “buzz word” as an incentive to get students to post their initial response early in the week.

As a trial for this first class, I offered students 1 extra credit point when they complete their initial post by midnight on Wednesday each week.  They can collect 12 extra credit points as they progress through the 12 learning plans.  If a student is not able to earn the point one week, they can still pick up extra points as the semester proceeds.  If a student collects all 12 “buzz words” they are able to collect a bonus of 8 additional extra credit points. (20 total) This has encouraged several students to post early all term.

The “buzz word” I select for each week corresponds with an Economic vocabulary term that relates to our current course content.  I also decided to share the “buzz word” with the entire class via the class announcements so that each student can be exposed to the new vocabulary even if they didn’t receive the extra credit.

Student feedback has been positive thus far and 30% of the class is on track to receive all 12 “buzz words.”


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