Increase Student Engagement with Online Tools

8 February 2023

Engaging students online is an essential skill for all lecturers to have – whether you’re teaching an online course or not. Most, if not all, courses today have some online components to them.

This week’s tip covers ways to increase student flexibility with online learning, without losing the engagement of in-person learning. As you’ll see, many of the ways we engage students online can actually provide more student engagement than we’re accustomed to in a physical classroom.  

Akoraka | Learn Discussion Forums 

Asynchronous discussion forums in Akoraka | Learn are a great way to not merely maintain the level of in-person engagement but increase it. Discussion forums involve written responses to prompts, creating opportunities for our quieter students who may be intimidated from speaking in class to shine. Along the same lines, not all students process information at the same rate – discussion forums allow students more time to digest the prompt and come up with a thoughtful response before answering.  

See our Discussion Forum Template for sample rules, guidelines, and scoring. The Lecturer Guidelines section will help you to think more about the role you play in discussion forums and how you can use them to improve student learning. 

Pre-programmed Formative Feedback 

Providing students with timely and helpful feedback can be challenging, especially as class sizes increase. Many tools that are already built into Akoraka | Learn allow you to pre-programmed feedback for students for them to self-assess their understanding as soon as they submit – the Quiz tool, H5P, and Panopto to name a few.  

With the Quiz tool, you can have a few multiple-choice questions at the end of every module (often referred to as “knowledge checks”) where, immediately upon submission, students learn whether they’re right or wrong, and more importantly, why. You might even write feedback that tells students what part of the course content they should refer back to if they got the wrong answer. Because these “knowledge checks” are often self-assessments, you can also create short answer written response questions. Akoraka | Learn won’t be able to tell the student if their answer is “correct” like it can with a multiple-choice question, but your pre-programmed feedback could be a model answer that your students compare to their own.  

Panopto will similarly allow you to integrate quiz-type questions directly into your videos. Imagine you record a lecture you would normally give in-person. Over the years, you’ve probably come to anticipate certain points in that lecture where students have questions. Anticipate those points of confusion and add a pop-up question that pauses your video and requires your students to answer before resuming play.  

Like discussion forums, a major benefit of these techniques is that they elicit engagement from all your students, not just the most confident or talkative ones in class! 

Synchronous Online Learning  

Use MS Teams to engage students online synchronously or asynchronously! We covered many Teams tips in our MS Teams workshop and weekly teaching tip on MS Teams. 

Dive Deeper 

Interested in more online tools and teaching techniques? Come to our upcoming online-specific workshops. Reserve your place.




Wednesday 8 February 

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

How to create teacher presence online 

Tuesday 14 February 

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm 

Engaging online students in three ways 

Wednesday 15 February 

10:00 am – 11:30 am 

Discussion tools and forums 

Wednesday 15 March 

9:00 am – 10:30 am 

Marking assessments online 

Wednesday 10 May 

10:00 am – 11:30 am 

Editing & maintaining Akoraka | Learn course pages