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Engagement in Online Learning: It’s Not All About Faculty!

The Disruptive Power of Online Education

ISBN: 978-1-78754-326-3, eISBN: 978-1-78754-325-6

Publication date: 22 November 2018


In this chapter, we, the authors Bishop, Etmanski and Page, argue for the need to disrupt the traditional notion of faculty solely as expert. We redefine the online faculty role to be that of a facilitator who creates the space for students to engage with both content and other students in the class. We discuss the adult learning principles behind our practices and our attention to building community. To illustrate what our online teaching work looks like in practice, we begin by providing a creative script on what online learning could look like. We then speak to utilising the specific strategies of online forums, behind the scenes outreach, synchronous meetings and assignments to create rich engagement in the online environment for higher education and learning.

We place a strong emphasis on building community among our students from the start of course and throughout. Recognising that people respond differently to different scenarios and have different learning preferences, we seek to offer a diverse range of options for experiencing community, with the intention of offering the possibility of belonging for everyone. The intention to create space for engagement in online learning has challenged us to continually ask ourselves how we can adapt or create new activities and experiences for the online learning environment, so as to enhance engagement.



Bishop, K., Etmanski, C. and Page, M.B. (2018), "Engagement in Online Learning: It’s Not All About Faculty!", Altmann, A., Ebersberger, B., Mössenlechner, C. and Wieser, D. (Ed.) The Disruptive Power of Online Education, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 83-98.



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