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what helps students participate?

Just a very easy tip. Remembering names actually helps students participate. Not remembering names makes a student feel anonymous, or that there is no personal attention. Remembering names makes them liable to participate.

I believe when a student see's the instructor active in the course and returns course work in a timely manner it pushes the students to want to participate more.  Knowing that the instructor meets deadlines just as the instructor wants the student to meet deadlines and not push deadlines off for days and weeks demonstrates discipline and genuine concern for the students success.

Reply to Tyree Scott's post:

Hi Tyree,

Wow, you are so right. I just finished a module with a lot of paper-work homework.  I noticed that I had a hard time keeping up with the grading of the student's homework, and some exercises I did not give the students individual feedback at all.  I noticed a lack of participation and motivation the less I was able to respond in a timely maner.  Lessons learned, Next module I will recommit to the students to give more timely feed back and a lot more encouragement, to help them get the sense of importance in completing assignments on time and fully completed.

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