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Digital Learning Team

Designing Meaningful Online Learning



Sense of Belonging Strategies


Meaningful Discussion Boards


UDL Strategies


Instructional Strategies


Creating impactful online learning in higher education is vital, as it broadens educational access worldwide and supports an adaptable learning environment, benefiting students from various backgrounds. With the help of technology, Course Developers are able to design interactive and versatile courses, making education more accessible and efficient for learners with different styles.

Sense of Belonging Strategies

Create Opportunities for Interaction

Personalize the Learning Experience

Foster an Inclusive and Supportive Community

Provide Regular Feedback and Support

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Meaningful Discussion Boards

Discussion boards play a pivotal role in education by fostering a collaborative learning environment where students can engage in critical thinking and share diverse perspectives, enhancing their understanding of course material. Creating a community in your course discussion board starts with fostering an environment where every student feels valued and encouraged to share their insights, paving the way for rich, collaborative learning experiences.

FosteringAn online community

Implement, Test, and Iterate

Understand and Embrace Accessibility Standards

Involve and Learn from the Community

Student Accessibility

Implementing accessible design principles ensurs that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can access the content equally.

Foster Engagement and Reflection

Define the Purpose and Format

Design the Choice Board

Student Autonomy

A discussion choice board empowers learners by offering them autonomy over their learning journey, allowing them to engage with topics that resonate with their interests and learning styles.

How to Create a Choice Board

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Student Learning Preferences

Providing students with options to view content in written, video, or audio formats acknowledges the diverse learning styles and strengths that exist within a course.

Written Content

Written content serves as the backbone of online education, providing a solid reference that students can return to at any point.

Video Content

Video content brings a dynamic and interactive element to online higher education.

Audio Content

Audio content, including podcasts and recorded lectures, provides a flexible and convenient way for students to engage with course material.

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"..objectives help students understand what they should learn. - DLT

Create a grid or a list of topics, questions, or prompts that participants can choose from. Aim for a variety of themes to cater to different interests and learning styles.

Set detailed criteria so students know how they can be successful.

Best Practice Exemplar

Create discussions and assignments that allow students to choose their own learning path!

Interactive question


Interactivity and animation can be your best allies when it comes to creating tables, infographics, or graphics that help provide context to the topic or unit, as well as simplify the information to make it more understandable. We are visual beings and we find it easier to 'read' images than to read written text.

'Your content is liked, but it hooks even more if it is interactive'

- Genially

Interactive visual communication step by step

  1. Plan your content structure.
  2. Give visual weight to key and main points.
  3. Define secondary messages with interactivity.
  4. Establish a flow throughout the content.
  5. Measure the results.

Thank you!

Digital Learning Team

Personalize the Learning Experience

Tailoring the learning experience to meet individual students' needs can significantly impact their sense of belonging. This can include personalized feedback on assignments, the option to choose project topics that interest them, or even just acknowledging their achievements and milestones in the course.

By showing students that their unique contributions and progress are valued, instructors can create a more inclusive environment that respects and celebrates diversity.

Foster an Inclusive and Supportive Community

Establishing norms and expectations for respectful and constructive communication is key to building a positive online community. This could involve setting clear guidelines for discussion posts, encouraging supportive feedback among peers, and addressing any instances of negativity promptly.

Instructors can also highlight the importance of diversity and inclusivity in course materials and discussions, ensuring that all students feel seen and respected.

Visit the Digital Learning Resource Hub for more exemplars!Use this link to enroll: https://canvas.park.edu/enroll/GT6TTH

Create Opportunities for Interaction

Encourage regular interaction among students and between students and instructors. This can be achieved through discussion forums, group projects, and peer review sessions. Utilizing video conferencing tools for live classes and office hours also adds a personal touch, allowing participants to connect faces to names.

Such interactions not only facilitate learning but also help in building relationships, making students feel more connected to the course and each other.

Provide Regular Feedback and Support

Continuous feedback and support can make students feel valued and part of a learning community. This includes not only academic feedback but also emotional support and encouragement. Instructors can achieve this by being accessible and responsive to students' queries, offering constructive feedback that guides improvement, and celebrating successes.

Additionally, creating a virtual "open door" policy where students feel comfortable reaching out for help or advice can further enhance their sense of belonging.