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Issue Of Engagement: How To Boost Student Interaction In Online Courses

by Laura Devaney

eCampus News

Article excerpt

Can Facebook boost MOOC retention?

A study comparing students’ use of their MOOC course’s built-in message boards and forums to the same students’ use of course Facebook groups revealed that students seemed more engaged in the Facebook groups. Students told researchers they preferred social media interaction to interacting with the MOOC communication tools.

Our take

Using The Tools That Students Use Naturally

Online course offerings hold potential, but one of the key challenges is generating meaningful engagement between teachers and students. While most offerings have built-in message boards, they’re not widely utilized. What other options might spur more interaction?

According to research on MOOC course design shared at this year’s ACM conference in April, using popular social media tools may be preferred by students. Instead of attempting to duplicate the functionality (and popularity) of tools like Facebook, educational service providers and instructors may want to consider how already existing communication and collaboration tools can be used to boost online engagement and participation. There’s much to be learned by observing students doing what they do naturally.