OSCQR – Standard #29

OSCQR – Standard #29

Course offers access to a variety of engaging resources that facilitate communication and collaboration, deliver content, and support learning and engagement.

Review These Explanations

Students’ perceptions of their learning may not be an accurate measure of how well they’re actually learning. For example, a recent study (Deslauriers, et al, 2019) found that while a lecture delivered by a charismatic personality can result in students reporting that they feel they learned more through a traditional lecture, they actually learned more by taking part in active-learning strategies. Active learning requires effort and can feel frustrating. That experience can be perceived as a negative learning experience and the effort misinterpreted as a sign of poor learning.

Learners benefit more from activities than from simple presentation of content. External readings, assignments, discussions, interactive web sites, online assessments (formative and summative) should all be connected clearly to mastering course concepts, and aligned with module, course, and program objectives.

Learners engage in these activities more readily when relevance to the course content is clear to them. Resources should be contextualized, and opportunities for feedback should be included throughout the course (Chakraborty & Nafukho, 2014).

Learners need to know why they are required to read, review, discuss or create materials in the course. When they know reasoning behind what they need to complete, they will be more engaged.


Deslauriers, L., McCarty, L.S., Miller, K., Callaghan, K., and Kestin, G. (2019)Measuring actual learning versus feeling of learning in response to being actively engaged in the classroom. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 116, 39, Pp. 19251–19257.

Chakraborty, M., & Nafukho, F. f. (2014). Strengthening student engagement: what do students want in online courses?. European Journal of Training & Development, 38(9), 782-802.


Refresh Your Course with These Ideas

  • When posting learning materials, let learners know why you want them to access these resources, and what they should be looking for.
  • Read everything you share with your learners and consider how engaging it is. If something seems lacking, develop a companion guide that will encourage learners to think more critically about that learning asset.
  • Provide feedback channels where learners can rate the engagement level of the materials you provide, and how they feel they align with objectives.
  • Refresh your resources at least once a semester. Review what materials you are providing to see if they are still relevant.
  • Meet with a subject area librarian to explore more engaging resources for your course.
  • Use a collaborative bookmarking site like Diigo, and create a class group to enable your learners to contribute and comment on additional resources.
  • Explore the MERLOT repository for learning material and interactive lessons to include in your course.
  • Check with your textbook publisher to see if a course companion site is available.
  • Explore related Open Educational Resources at OER Commons to include in your course.
  • Check with other faculty who teach in your discipline to explore online resources that they have found to be successful in engaging online learners.
  • Explore 50 Alternatives to Lecture

Explore More Refreshing Ideas from the Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository (TOPR) at the University of Central Florida (UCF)

These Pedagogical Practice from TOPR explore methods and approaches to integrating engaging resources and activities into your online course content to benefit learner success.

Convert Course Materials into an Instructional Simulation Using Gaming Elements
In an online course, a frequent criticism is that PowerPoint’s are poorly designed and critical supporting information is often missing (with no presenter to fill in the blanks!) (Elder, 2009). On the other hand, instructional simulations combine multimedia elements (i.e. sound, images, video, etc) to represent (simulate) particular aspects of an actual situation (Hays, 2006). (Read more …)
Convert PowerPoint Presentations into Wiki Pages for Online Delivery
While PowerPoint presentations can be effective when used as a visual aid to support the messages presented face-to-face, they are typically not as effective when viewed in a fully online environment where the instructor is absent. It is difficult to include enough context to the slides without adding excessive text (Shank, 2012). (Read more …)
Use Academic Challenges and Experiential Missions to Provide Learner Choice and Engage Learners In Online Course Activities
Aligning learners’ instructional preferences with course activities and providing opportunities for learner choice are widely recognized as educational best practice, helping learners to engage with content and learn more effectively (Kern & State, 2009; Patall, Dent, Oyer, & Wynn, 2013; Patall, Cooper, & Wynn, 2010), and researchers and practitioners have started extending this instructional approach to online learning (Akdemir & Koszalka, 2008; Tonsing-Meyer, 2013). (Read more …)
Use Videos to Illustrate Complicated Conceptual Knowledge
Most academic disciplines include highly conceptual or abstract concepts that are difficult for learners to grasp. For instance, building a solid foundation of conceptual knowledge for learners is critical in engineering education (Streveler et al., 2008). An incomplete conceptual understanding hinders the development of central engineering competencies and expertise. (Read more …)

Explore Related Resources

Dixson, M. d. (2012). Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction, Updated Edition. NACTA Journal, 56(2), 99-100.
Wyatt, J. L. (2014). Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction. Adult Learning, 25(2), 74-75.

Share What You Know

OSCQR has been developed by a community of online practitioners interested in quality course design. There are numerous opportunities for community members to offer suggestions, donate resources, and help with future development.

Discuss this standard in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

Contribute your own ideas or refresh resources by filling out the OSCQR Examples Contribution Form.