Student Engagement Strategies for Virtual Classrooms

Learning Outcomes/

This series of three courses aims to help educators transition from brick-and-mortar instruction into virtual classrooms. We share effective strategies for engaging students in virtual learning environments, with the goal of maximizing student learning.

Our faculty have rigorous training grounded in learning science and years of experience developing and teaching virtual courses across many disciplinary contexts.

Analyze and apply principles from the science of learning

Practice techniques to facilitate student engagement in virtual classroom environments

Build strategies for outcomes-based teaching and assessment in virtual classroom environments

Vinicus on laptop bw

Course 1: Facilitating engaged learning in virtual classes

Six sessions. Two 50-minute class meetings per week.

Session topics:

  1. The science of learning. 16 learning principles derived from neuroscience research to ground participants in an understanding of how students process, retain, and apply information.
  2. You’ve flipped your classroom, now what? How to incentivize pre-class preparation and make the most of live class meetings.
  3. Outcomes-based teaching. How to define and organize your learning goals on a per-session basis to achieve course goals, and active-learning techniques you can use to reinforce them.
  4. Building community in the virtual classroom. Techniques for keeping an engaging pace, inviting student participation, and facilitating student dialogue.
  5. How do we know students are learning in class? Best practices for assessing student participation and providing formative feedback in real time.
  6. Purpose, relevance, and transfer. How to encourage students to apply what they are learning to new contexts.

Participation Fee: $450 individual. $350 per person group rate for a group of 10. $300 per person group rate for a group of 30.

Course 2: Teaching practicum: virtual engagement techniques

Five sessions, 90 minutes each. Participants teach two sessions and attend two sessions taught by other members of their cohort. The final class meeting allows the full cohort to share what they learned.

This course allows participants to apply what they learn in course 1 and practice virtual engagement techniques.

Participants use provided lesson plans.

  • All classes are attended by at least five undergraduate students.
  • A mentor is present in each session.
  • One-hour lessons are followed by 30 minutes of verbal feedback from the mentor.
  • Participants teach twice and attend two sessions taught by other members of their cohort.
  • Submission of a reflection is required after the completion of each practice teaching session.
  • Final session, “review and best practices,” allows the full cohort to meet and share what they learned.
  • Upon request, we will produce a written evaluation of the participant’s teaching for inclusion in a teaching portfolio.

Prerequisite, Course 1.

Course 3: Course planning and lesson design for virtual classrooms

Four live class meetings, two sessions per week, 60 minutes each.

Remaining work is asynchronous.

This final course in the sequence focuses on course and lesson planning for primarily synchronous virtual courses or blended classes (e.g., some synchronous and some live class meetings). It includes:

  • Two 60-minute class sessions on syllabus design, with an emphasis on defining learning outcomes and effectively distributing them throughout class meetings (e.g., start with foundational material first; plan for synthesis days; etc.).
  • Two 60-minute class sessions on lesson plan design for virtual classrooms.
  • Participants work asynchronously (self-paced) to complete a syllabus and two lesson plans. Instructors provide feedback on draft work products, and they are available for consultation in office hours.
  • After receiving feedback, participants choose one lesson plan, teach it on a virtual platform of their choosing and record the teaching session for submission as a final assignment.

Prerequisites: Courses 1 and 2.

After successful completion of all three courses in the sequence, participants receive two semester credits from Minerva Schools and a transcript from the registrar (upon request).

Learn From Anywhere

All classes are conducted in live, interactive video seminars via Forum, the advanced learning platform developed by Minerva. There are no lectures and with a newer computer and reliable high-speed internet connection, you can attend classes from anywhere in the world.

Forum /

Forum is designed specifically to improve your educational experience, with video-based seminars that provide:

  • Direct interaction with your professor
  • Dynamic instruction, peer learning, and frequent feedback
  • Attendance from anywhere with broadband internet
  • Simplified schedule and assignment management
  • Enhanced performance review and progress tracking

Video: Forum - A New Way to Learn. 

Transition from brick-and-mortar instruction into a virtual classroom.

With just a three-week commitment, the first course in the Student Engagement Strategies for Virtual Classrooms series will teach you to engage students in virtual learning environments and maximize student learning.

Express your interest in this course by filling out the linked form. We will contact you when we have a date for the next offering.