How to Improve Engagement in Online Learning?

Hey there fellow online biology teachers!

I have been braving the world of virtual classrooms for a year now, and let me tell you, keeping those teenagers glued to their screens during online bio class can be a challenge! I’ve tried a bunch of stuff, like breakout rooms and fancy interactive tools, but I feel like I’m missing something.

So, spill the beans! What are your secret weapons for keeping students engaged in online learning? Any specific activities or tech tools that work wonders? I’m all ears (or, well, eyes) for any ideas or experiences you can share!

Thanks in advance!


I’m not a biology teacher but I’ve been teaching online for over a decade, primarily math for future teachers.

Im not sure if you teach HS or college, but I’ll just share my experiences with college level instruction.

First, try to minimize lectures. I found that doing an online lecture is painful for you and your students. If youre teaching HS, then you may need more of those.

Instead, I look for the best possible source, or sources. You & I dont own media companies, we dont have a staff to do graphics or music. But we do have access to youtube. I balance those throughout.

Second, make your online classes as interactive as possible. One of the easiest is via polling for a quick check. There are a few ways to do this, we can chat more, but i found most of my students can use their phones to respond to a poll.

Third, take breath. You got this!


Do either of you find Kahn Academy useful? I’ve taken hundreds of online classes, and I really find Kahn helpful when they use it. And I completely agree with everything Dawn said! :smiling_face:

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I absolutely love Khan academy! I recommended it to hundreds of students.

Ive used some of their videos in my classes. For example, one of my favorite series of videos come from interviewing Disney folks about ways they use math.

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