Teaching Virtually -- Tips for Success

Engagement strategies

  • The key to success with online learning is engaging your students. Here are some ideas to do that.


    1. Use frequent check-ins with students that require their response. 


    Ideas of things you can try:

    • Ask questions that require students to answer yes/no or agree/disagree. 
    • Start a statement with "Stand if you..."
    • A chat waterfall -- ask a question and tell students to type their answer but NOT hit enter until they get the signal. Once you say go, students all hit enter at once so answers appear as a waterfall. Then go back and review them all; discuss patterns of answers, differences of opinions, etc.


    Methods for students to answer:

    • Thumbs up button in Zoom or hand-raise in Meet
    • Emoji responses
    • In-meeting polls (Zoom only)
    • Standing/sitting
    • Raising hands with cameras on
    • Type in the chat
    • Respond to a Poll Everywhere or Mentimeter poll (both free)


    2. Use breakout rooms for student interaction.


    Google Meet's free version does not have built-in breakout rooms. You can try to use the 3rd party Breakout Room extension, however. This will create additional, separate Google Meets for students to join for awhile before returning to the main meeting. It is best used for longer group activities to minimize the number of transitions for students, and it would work best with older students who are comfortable following directions using technology.


    Zoom does have breakout rooms that are easier to use, as they are built-in. 


    In breakout rooms, you can organize student interactions using Kagan structures, such as:

    • RallyRobin
    • RoundRobin
    • RallyTable
    • Placemat Consensus


    3. Use shared files for interaction.

    All Google files can be shared so "everyone can edit." In this way students can edit the same document in real-time, and you will have a history of which student types what for accountability.


    In Google Slides or Jamboard, it is easy to give each student a unique page to work on; if desired, students can then view each other's pages and comment on them or add their own contributions to them. 


    You can use this for activities such as:

    • Kagan's RallyTable
    • Kagan's Placemat Consensus