Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Campus Technology 2008 Session 3: Technology-enhanced Strategies for Engaging Your Learner

The final session of Day 1 was presented by Bethany Bovard, Instructional Designer, New Mexico State University. She posed the question What is Engagement? She said there is a disconnect on instructional design if the teacher thinks engagement is student excitement over showing what they have read the night before while the learner thinks it means completing homework assignments. Participants brainstormed over what it means to be engaged.

  • Active listening and participation
  • Taking questions home to discuss around the dinner table
  • Model engagement by talking to them

The key she said is to communicate what your anticipation in engagement. Research has shown that the barriers to engagement are:

  • Social – isolation, lack of interaction, and missing social context cues (am I being understood, Do I understand?)
  • Administrative – lack of instructor feedback and inability to find materials on the web
  • Learner Motivation – hardest to address, procrastination due to other two barriers, boredom

Technology that can be used to reduce social barriers by creating a sense of community

  • Make first contact getting students to introduce to one another, encourage group projects, and provide audio/video message
  • Use email to share syllabus, context info, and resources – though not a web 2.0 tool it encouraged students to communicate before class began.
  • Create an audio/video greeting 
  • Create an avatar at to create and send a greeting to learners. Can make the avatar speak in three ways, record your own voice with a microphone, call in using your phone, or type in a synthetic message and it will create a synthetic voice.
  • Use blogging to encourage interaction and create continuity between classes.

Administrative barriers include:

  • Missing directions/clear expectations – no way to clarify misinformation.
  • Lacking timely feedback (In published research, student-instructor interactions – including timely feedback – are one of the most significant factors in student satisfaction and learning.

Technological means of overcoming administrative barriers

  • Share contact information – be available to answer questions
  • Repeat yourself often – state directions and expectation in various ways
  • Provide feedback – vary your timing, amount, and manner of feedback - 

She used Skype ( to address all of these issues.

Motivation Barriers include:

  • Overload of content
  • Deadlines are not communicated frequently

Ways to overcome motivation barriers

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