Online students, like any other students, like to spend time procrastinating before they get to completing assignments given in class. Many teachers struggle to come up with tasks and projects that really engage and motivate students to skip procrastination and get working.
Faculty: if you find yourself at a roadblock when it comes to designing engaging projects, here are a few easily customizable online assignment ideas that will keep your students interested and motivated. These assignments can also be applied to many different subjects, as they aim to test a variety of skills and abilities at once.
1. The Photo Online Assignment
If you need students to develop critical thinking and creative skills, use the “picture assignment.” Create a project and ask students to take a random photo and describe the scene with references to some theories and models used in the class. This way, you allow them to not only engage their creativity, but reveal personal interests; this helps to make the connection between what they personally care about with their classwork.
2. The Interview Online Assignment
Like the example above of the picture assignment, this online assignment refers to the interests of students if the teacher allows them to select the person they want to have a conversation with, such as a local politician, singer, activist, or even a friend or a neighbor. Make sure the interviews discuss specific topics related to the subject and then use the information obtained by the students to illustrate some concepts or theories studied in the class. Find some interview conducting tips in this article from Study Guides and Strategies.
3. The Observation Online Assignment
This assignment encourages online students to leave their homes and engage in first-hand learning from professionals. For example, if you are teaching a nursing class, arrange an opportunity to visit a local health care institution and observe how nurses and other professionals perform their tasks by observing. Also, the professionals could be asked for some tips and professional advice when possible to make the observation even more engaging for the students. As a result, students will be thankful for the opportunity to take learning outside the online classroom.
(Next page: 3 more customizable online assignments)
4. The One-Minute Paper Online Assignment
Tell your students to get ready, because this one needs all their attention. A one-minute paper is an assignment that could be used in an online class to evaluate the knowledge obtained by the students from a specific resource in less than five minutes. For example, ask your students to complete this assignment right after they have finished a learning session to discover whether they paid attention. Set an online timer to one minute and make sure that the assignment window does not allow the student to make changes after the time has passed.
5. The Peer Feedback Online Assignment
Peer review and feedback asks a peer to provide comments on student work, but it’s up to the teacher to instruct students how to make the feedback professional and objective. This assignment allows the students to develop critical thinking skills and provide needed help for those who struggle with their work. Peer feedback can be provided on a monthly basis, whether publicly or privately.
6. The Group Activity Online Assignment
Given that the sense of community should be nurtured in online learning groups as well, online faculty should consider using collective activities in class. According to Kevin Blanchard, a supervisor, this will help students exchange and discuss their ideas without having to gather.
This activity can be assigned as follows: select a resource that can be used for discussion, such as an article or video, and instruct the students to have a discussion of the concepts and themes found in the resource. If necessary, make at least one discussion post mandatory for each student to ensure that everybody participates in the board.
In conclusion, online learning has been proven as a reliable method of educating students without having to attend classes in a traditional classroom. However, lack of face-to-face interaction does not mean that the classes should be boring—there is a wide range of engaging projects that can be implemented in your distance learning practice.
As an additional resource, the edtech development discussed at college papers blog opens new horizons in online education. Use them in your online classroom to make students more engaged, motivated, and happy with the course.