Motivation stimulates, guides, and sustains learning and is closely tied to a student’s willingness to participate in the learning process. Students’ desire to do well may be oriented internally and/or externally and instructors are positioned to have the most impact on students’ external motivation.
Interact with Students and Get to Know Them
You will be able to provide students with educational opportunities they can appreciate when you know what their career goals and interests are. Make your subject matter interesting to them by sharing your excitement about the content and showing them how it aligns with their goals and aspirations.
Use Rigor, Active and Collaborative Learning
When adequately challenged, students typically put more time and effort into their online course materials. Use activities that allow students to engage with the materials directly. Challenge them to use higher-order thinking, but provide support and appropriate scaffolding so they don’t end up frustrated. Incorporating a variety of teaching methods and activities will refresh student interest.
Provide Timely and Meaningful Feedback
Communicate the timeline for when students can expect to receive feedback and let them know how their work will be graded. Give students valuable feedback as quickly as possible by returning assignments promptly. Be specific when giving negative feedback and make comments about the work, not the student.
Place Appropriate Emphasis on Testing and Grading
Ensure tests and assignments align with learning objectives and assess what students have mastered. Give assessments appropriate weight in students’ overall grade total.
- Center for Teaching (Vanderbilt University): Motivating Students
- Student Support (Re)defined: 10 Ways Faculty can Support Students’ Success: Helping Students Achieve the “Six Success Factors” (.pdf)
- University of Wisconsin-Whitewater: Motivating Students
- Teaching Beyond the Podium Podcast (Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Florida): Student Motivation | Transcript (.pdf)
- Teaching Beyond the Podium Podcast (Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Florida): Strategies for Student Engagement | Transcript (.pdf)
- Crone, I. & MacKay, K. (2007). Motivating Today’s College Students
- Moriña, A (2019). The Keys to Learning for University Students with Disabilities: Motivation, Emotion and Faculty-Student Relationships (.pdf)
- Williams-Price, C (2011). Five Key Ingredients for Improving Student Motivation
- Rokach, A. (2016). The Impact Professors have on College Students
- Gay, Geneva (2018). Culturally Responsive Teaching (Chapter 1)
- Gay, Geneva (2018). Culturally Responsive Teaching (Chapter 2)