Increasing Students' Interactivity in an Online Course
Efforts were undertaken to increase students’ interactivity in an online course in adult development. The purpose was to increase students’ engagement with the course materials, heighten their online discussions, and deepen their thinking about course-related concepts, theoretical principles, and research findings. Several strategies were used towards this end. Analyses of students’ discussions showed that they relied frequently upon personal anecdotes to make meaning of the theories and developmental principles covered in the course. The instructional strategies did not, however, bear a direct relationship to students’ participation, learning, or course performance. Rendering the course materials sensible in light of their personal experiences is a critical indicator of students’ understanding and learning. Instructors may want to redirect their attention from assessing students’ knowledge of factual contents in online courses where ability to discuss and analyze concepts and principles is a critical indicator of learning.