Bueller, Bueller? Engaging Students in a Virtual World

Submitted by Bobbi Mohr on
What is the Purpose of the Assessment?

In March 2020, faculty moved from face to face learning environments to a virtual world due to COVID. Faculty had to find new ways to engage students in the new teaching setting.  

Describe the necessity for this assessment

Faculty must virtually engage students, as Hanover Research (2014) states, “‘involvement’ within the classroom can greatly influence student success and persistence.”

Describe how the practice will be implemented

Math courses in Fall 20 transitioned to Live Online format vs. traditional online. Faculty learned new technologies/strategies through workshops, brainstorming sessions, social media, Zoom/Webex, NearPod, etc. Goal: to implement new tools in the virtual environment to keep students engaged (see abstract for more info). Through student surveys and conversations with students, faculty gained perspective on student engagement and their feelings on their sense of belonging.

Interpret, compare, and describe the results

Engagement Strategies: 38.5% use satisfaction surveys, 30.8% (video) 84.6% (email) for support/encouragement, 38.5% work with ASC, 69.2% offer nontraditional office hours, 61.5% use breakout rooms/polls, 76.9% held virtual open house, 69.2% use interactive tools, 38.5% students present live, 23.1% use texting for updates, 61.5% use Educreations, 76.9% use chat, 92.3% address students by name, 46.2% use question of the day, 38.5% play music, and 7.7% use oral assessments/forums.

After analyzing, and reflecting on the outcome, what are the next steps?

Math faculty will continue to instruct in this Live Online environment for subsequent semesters, implementing engagement strategies like the use of video, email, phone apps, interactive tools, and features of Zoom/Webex to increase engagement. Collaboration with ASC, administering satisfaction surveys to create a sense of belonging, offering nontraditional office hours, and hosting virtual open houses will continue to be strategies implemented to help students succeed and persist.


In Fall 20, math courses transitioned to a Live Online format versus traditional online. Faculty spent the summer frantically learning technologies and strategies through workshops, brainstorming sessions, and social media. Math faculty also trained one another on Zoom/Webex, NearPod, and Whiteboard.fi with a common goal -  to learn and implement new tools in the virtual environment to keep students engaged; increasing student success and persistence. Faculty reported using video, email, phone apps, interactive tools and features of Zoom/Webex to interact with students and increase engagement in the live online/virtual environments. Collaboration with ASC, administering student satisfaction surveys and creating a sense of belonging were reported as strategies to help students succeed and persist. Faculty intend to continue working with ASC, offering nontraditional office hours and host virtual open houses prior to the start of each semester to create a strong sense of belonging.  Office hours in the evening will assist working students/parents to avoid traveling to campus for help while open houses provide students and faculty an opportunity to connect.

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Becky Baranowski Mon, 11/02/2020 - 9:38am

1.  Please note that all full-time faculty participated in the survey.  We would like to roll this out to our adjunct faculty and also provide professional development opportunities to our adjuncts so they can also see how to engage with our students (and many of them are doing great things, too).  

2.  Closing the Loop:  In Spring 2020, when we went to the virtual environment in March, engagement with students was not what we all wanted.  We did the best we could with the incredibly quick transition to Live Online.  Some faculty used breakout rooms, Nearpod, etc. Engagement with students, last Spring, was not as robust as it is this semester (Fall 2020) due to everyone being in survival mode 6 months ago.