Learning is not a spectator sport. Learning requires discussion, engagement and debate, all while actively looking back on experiences and interacting with others.

Katherine Dowdell, District Chair for Social and Behavioral Sciences at Des Moines Area Community College, knows how difficult it can be to encourage students to engage in their education. Katherine began her tenure teaching online courses after volunteering for the role never having previously done it. Seven years later, she’s now coaching colleagues on how to be successful online.

Katherine’s tip on getting student’s engaged? Set up an engagement triple play. Online classrooms can facilitate student engagement in new and different ways than in-person training. With online learning: 1. Students engage with instructors. 2. Students engage with content. 3. Students engage with one another.

58% of faculty members say that the growth of online education makes them more fearful than excited. Originally, Katherine wasn’t sure that her students were “getting it.” Her fears subsided, though, and she’s helped us put together an Instructor’s Field Guide titled, 5 Ways to Get Started with the Online Classroom.

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