5 Tips to Be an Effective Online Teacher & Keep your Students Engaged

5 Tips to Be an Effective Online Teacher & Keep your Students Engaged


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools and colleges are moving their classes online. Online learning is not new and has been around for quite some time. However, these unprecedented times have forced everyone to suddenly adopt this mode of education.

One of the biggest hurdles of online teaching is the lack of community and in-person communication. So, as a (new) online teacher, it’s imperative to take additional efforts to make up for that lack of face-to-face interaction and not let your students become passive. 


Here are five essential tips to be an effective online teacher and keep your students engaged.


1. Set clear expectations


Unlike a traditional classroom, students won’t be able to raise their hand and ask a question as soon as they encounter a challenge. Hence, you have to be very clear in your communication. 


Whether it’s giving assignment instructions, setting deadlines or defining classroom participation guidelines, make sure your students are on the same page as you. 


You can document the directions in an easy-to-understand format or even create a quick explainer video that could be sent along with the instructions. 


It’s also a good idea to share the scoring rubric with your students while assigning tasks and projects so they clearly understand how they’ll be evaluated.


Remember - there is no such thing as over-communication in an online learning environment. The more you’re in touch with them, the less lost and anxious your students will feel.


2. Create visually appealing slides 


Your students are studying in isolation, grappling with this new mode of learning and the last thing they want to be subjected to is a boring course. 


The most effective way to keep them invested is by creating visually appealing slides that capture their attention and keep them engaged.


In addition to using images and videos, you should also consider using an infographic maker to create infographics and convey complicated information in a more appealing manner. Doing this enables students to grasp concepts with ease and improves retention too.


You can also get design inspiration from PowerPoint and spruce up your slides, making them more engaging and interesting. 


3. Boost interactivity


Nothing beats real-time interactions but that doesn’t mean you cannot make your online classes interactive. Enhancing interactivity is a great way to motivate your students, improve engagement and boost productivity. 


Think of creative ways to use interactive elements in your online classroom and aid learning. Here are a few ideas to get started:


  • Test knowledge by making quizzes

  • Use interactive flashcards to facilitate group discussions

  • Encourage collaboration and brainstorming sessions using mind maps

  • Get students to evaluate each other’s work


4. Build a community


In online learning, students are studying alone in their rooms, away from the bustle of classrooms. Due to this, many students tend to feel isolated and lonely which can impact their learning. 


As an online teacher, it’s your responsibility to foster community building, to avoid such scenarios. You can do that by encouraging team activities and group projects so that students communicate and collaborate with each other. 


You can also create a Facebook group or use a communication channel such as Hangouts or Slack wherein you can discuss, share challenges and offer solutions. 


Use this space to also talk about topics outside of the curriculum. This will help strengthen bonds and create a sense of community. 


5. Gather feedback


It’s very important to constantly check with your students and assess whether they’re deriving value from your online courses. Collect feedback so you’re able to evaluate your teaching style, identify gaps and make improvements.


After every course, you can create a survey and send it to your students, asking them to rate your class and share their experiences. 


In most cases, the online learning environment is as new to your students as it is to you. So, follow these five essential tips to facilitate two-way communication and ensure your students are as invested and engaged as they would have been in a traditional classroom.



Simki Dutta is a content marketer at Venngage, a free infographic maker and design platform. When she's not working, she can be found refreshing her Twitter feed and binge-watching Netflix shows.