What Online Students Want

Educause: Lost and Found in Translation – What online students want

No surprises here. Haven’t we been doing this for years? Check over this list to see if you are meeting students’ needs in your online courses.

Students expect excellent instruction: (Universal Design for Learning)

  • Use a variety of resources that complement each other logically
  • Design a variety of interesting learning activities
  • Give students choices for content and format/mode on projects and papers

Students don’t know what they don’t know:

  • Create an orientation to your course Blackboard site (don’t assume they know)
  • Give students time or space to share tips for success in an online class with each other
  • Do regular warm up activities/icebreakers in Collaborate that have students get comfortable with the tools while building community

Students want traditional classroom-style features:

  • Students want to meet synchronously at least some of the time
  • Students want to meet in real-time for office hours
  • Students seek instructor feedback in a timely manner
  • A discussion board for clarifications and reminders can benefit the whole class
  • Students like a SHORT weekly video outlining a new module/week

Small class size brings big results:

  • We may not have control over class size but both Blackboard Learn and Blackboard Collaborate have small group features that are a necessity for larger classes
  • The first 10 days of an online class are critical for student success. Begin with clear expectations, set a welcoming tone, and engage learners right away.

Building classroom community matters:

  • Students want to know, communicate with, and learn from classmates
  • Students want to develop relationships with the instructor, classmates and content
  • It takes deliberate planning to build community online but it is worth the effort