8 new ideas for engaging online students

online students

The year 2020 brought much online stuff into our lives. 2021 seems to have inherited a lot of last year’s practices and made them to be new ways of doing things regularly. Online learning has not been new before. However, now it has reached quite substantial forms. It is no longer a temporary matter. Online education has paved its way into a valid organization of the learning process.

Too much access to computers and screen time may feel discouraging. Processing efficacy goes down and students lose intrinsic motivation. Exhaustion from constant repeated online presence kills the purpose of it. As a result, new means are needed to be implemented to bring the enthusiastic engagement back. Let’s look at some fresh and helpful ideas.

Let them teach

As a teacher, you know your curriculum and know how to conduct it daily. Perfect! Assign your students to deliver that information instead of you. Let them research and then present. Peer-teaching has proved itself to be a quite efficient means of having new information to be absorbed better. While researching the student memorizes and develops some structure even better. It does not mean to relinquish your job responsibilities. You are there to guide and consult on some tricky concepts. Students sometimes can provide so worthy insights on some old-school ideas. Like it or not, but they know better how they want academic stuff to be delivered.

Encourage imagination

With all the gadgets and tools developed students have mastered so many various skills ( let’s concentrate on good ones and school-related). They feel as comfortable with all the tech-stuff the same way well as with the spoon or fork. Let them perform project-wise. Do not limit the potential of the task be it a presentation, a mini-movie, a video, or creative slides.  They do not even need to have some design skills to make a fantastic project work. All the apps developed they may make miracles: add music to picture, add audio to video, make your own animation, etc.

Make Theme Fridays

Pajama Friday, or hot (cold) drink Friday ( funny cup preferably), or foreign country culture theme( and if it is siesta time it is a siesta time).  Also, the students might choose movie characters they like and try to impersonate them, answering the questions the way they( characters) would do, expressing opinions aligning with their characters traits, etc. What about origami Friday? The students watch, create, and describe the feelings they had while experiencing it in a beautiful essay. You still teach, however in a bit less trivial manner. Creative Friday will bring them closer to the desired weekend and yet let them enjoy the academic process. 

Gizchina News of the week

Add some music

So, the lesson is according to the schedule. Have your students gathered in a conference and…let them put on headphones, switch to their favorite composition/s for at least twenty minutes. They should show their presence at the lesson but may sit as comfortably as possible, without obligatory looking at the screen. After, let them draw that music…yes, draw, what they associate it with and what color pallet they see it in. Next, let them express their choices verbally while presenting the picture. Aesthetic appreciation is always valuable.


Going on with aesthetic appreciation, let the students demonstrate what they are capable of ( talent-wise, of course). Recital, singing, dancing, baking, 1000 push-ups timed, etc. Then, choose the day and let it be devoted to watching those videos created. If it is OK with your group of students, have some voting and define the winner, but make sure all the other performers feel appreciated too.

Cancel the lesson

Well, it does not look exactly like it sounds. “Cancelling” means to repurpose it. In other words – break their expectations kindly. Boring maths is on its way at 9:45…bam…they sign in and the teacher suggests to talk about what they think concerning some recent events, news, situations, or simply talk about their plans for the weekend. It should be out of the blue, however,  should not be a complete wreck of their work ( if they were on a deadline and had no sleep to submit the paper exactly today, you might not want to repurpose then). Just plan accordingly.

Invent a subject

Pretty often learners complain about the subjects being quite distant from reality and have little to no use when it comes to real-life matters. Announce to your group that they can come up with an idea of a NEW  subject ( you will never be able to imagine what they can suggest) or modify the existing one in some way. The student must prepare a course, explaining the purpose and practical skills gained after completing it. Also, the task is to show how this NEW subject may interconnect with those existing ones. Let the students vote for the most interesting offer and let them learn it for a month, one day per week, so that they do not wreck the curriculum requirements. Have you ever heard about such a subject as OK-ology? I bet the answer is ”no”. This subject teaches how to develop an OK approach to whatever hacks happening in life, brainstorming through the selection of situational cards.  

Have a party

Might not be a fresh idea, but totally engaging, always.


It is not hard to keep students engaged in online learning all the time. There is solid assistance for the lessons to rock and the education to keep being top-quality. All work and no play may serve poorly for having student’s open minds to get filled with information. On-site or online lessons have a common denominator –  productive work that rotates with some useful fun. That will guarantee a constant and enthusiastic academic engagement.

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