Creating an activity online does not in itself ensure student participation. Students need to see the value in participating, to be motivated to join in online. Most commonly this means:
- integrating the activity well into the course learning, either to support an assessed activity, or as a formal assessment task itself, or
- assessing participation in the activity, that is, awarding a percentage of final marks for online participation.
Design your assessment tasks to test students' achievement of the course learning outcomes, and design your learning activities so that they allow students to develop the knowledge and skills to be successful in the assessment tasks.
Make the link between the activities and the assessment tasks very clear to students.
Some examples of linked activities are:
- an online role play that prepares students to write an essay that discusses the views of a range of stakeholders involved in an issue
- progressive building of a visual project using a blog to track progress, before submitting a final work
- an online quiz with sample questions similar to those that will be used in the final online test.
When assessing online participation:
- Ensure that the percentage awarded reflects the effort required.
- Let students know at the beginning of semester what criteria you will use to assess their participation—e.g. regularity of contribution, quality of ideas, quality of feedback in response to others' ideas.
- Monitor and track students' participation throughout the semester to minimise assessment work at the end.
- Consider having students' peers assess their participation.