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Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction, Updated Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-05982-1
160 pages
March 2011, Jossey-Bass
Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction, Updated Edition (1118059824) cover image


Engaging the Online Learner

This updated edition includes an innovative framework—the Phases of Engagement—that helps learners become more involved as knowledge generators and cofacilitators of a course. The book also provides specific ideas for tested activities (collected from experienced online instructors across the nation) that can go a long way to improving online learning. Engaging the Online Learner offers the tools and information needed to:

  • Convert classroom activities to an online environment

  • Assess the learning that occurs as a result of collaborative activities

  • Phase in activities that promote engagement among online learners

  • Build peer interaction through peer partnerships and team activities

  • Create authentic activities and implement games and simulations

Praise for Engaging the Online Learner

"The Phases of Engagement framework provides a road map for creating community at each phase of an online course. This book is an invaluable guide to innovative practices for online learning."–Judith V. Boettcher, coauthor of The Online Teaching Survival Guide

"Engagement is the heart of online learning. The authors have developed an encyclopedia of tried-and-true learner engagement activities that are authentic and ready to use."–Donald P. Ely, professor emeritus, instructional design, development and evaluation in the School of Education, Syracuse University

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Table of Contents


Overview of the Contents.



An Invitation.

The Authors.

ONE Learning in an Online Environment.

Engaged Learning in the Online Environment.

Guiding Learners to Engage Online.

Appropriate Activities for Each Phase.


PART ONE Constructing Activities to Engage Online Learners.

TWO Designing Online Engagement.

Adapting Classroom-Based Activities.

Meeting the Needs of Online Learners.

Choosing an Effective Communication Tool.


THREE Measuring Online Engaged Learning.

Analyzing the Quality of Critical Thinking.

Discussion Analysis Tools.


Team Assessments.

Reflective Self-Assessments.


FOUR Learning to Use Online Tools.

Building Students' Skills in Using the Necessary Tools.

PART TWO Activities to Engage Online Learners.

FIVE Online Icebreakers.

Characteristics of an Effective Icebreaker.

SIX Peer Partnership and Team Activities.

Moving Dyads to Teams.

SEVEN Reflective Activities.

Characteristics of an Effective Reflective Activity.

EIGHT Authentic Activities.

Characteristics of an Effective Authentic Activity.

NINE Games and Simulations.

Characteristics of an Effective Game or Simulation.

TEN Learner-Led Activities.

Activities Led by Individuals Versus Teams.

Conveying Outcomes.

Choosing the Type of Activity.

Adequate Orientation and Planning Time.

What Do Learners Think About Learner-Led Activities?

Examples of Learner-Led Activities.



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Author Information

Rita-Marie Conrad has been teaching, designing, and consulting on online courses for nearly two decades. She consults on the design, implementation, and evaluation of online courses, and provides training to community college and university faculty. A frequent presenter on the topic of online instruction, she is also coauthor of The Online Teaching Survival Guide published by Jossey-Bass.

J. Ana Donaldson retired as an associate professor of instructional technology from the University of Northern Iowa. She continues her love of teaching online by working part-time as a contributing faculty member for Walden University. She also provides instructional design and program evaluation consulting and has presented workshops on using technology to apply the principles of engaged learning.

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