Using Courseware to Keep Students Engaged with Virtual Learning During Winter Break
Each much-needed winter break is a great opportunity for students and educators to rest and recharge —you’ve all earned it! Winter break can also be a great opportunity to help students continue learning virtually, whether they need to recover skills they struggled to master this fall semester or to get ahead in their coursework before the new semester begins. Check out these strategies for using Courseware, Edmentum’s 6–12 online curricula, if you’re looking to encourage students to continue virtual learning at their own pace over the winter break.
How to Engage Students with Virtual Learning During Winter Break
1. Identify Learning Gaps
Courseware offers a variety of user-friendly reports to help you access and act on your students’ data, review their performance on specific topics, and analyze their performance on the end-of-semester exam.
Reports can be customized and viewed in multiple ways, such as the audit report for administrators to dive deeper into program performance or a list of ready-to-view reports for teachers to assess any learning gaps based on learner usage, progress and performance. Whatever you choose to focus on, use data results to identify three to four topics for each student to master via virtual learning to be successful in the next semester.
2. Use Flex Assignments for Personalized Content
Once you have determined each student's areas of strengths and opportunities, create personalized assignments based on these topics using the feature in Courseware.
Unlike semester-long courses, Flex Assignments are modular, and they can support individualized virtual learning with targeted instruction. Remember to give students at most three to four topics total; winter break is only typically two weeks long, and you want to make sure that students still have time to spend with their families and rest.
3. Give Students Clear Instructions and Incentives
Before you wrap up the fall semester and send your students off with their virtual learning assignments, it’s important to make sure that they understand your expectations and the benefits of meeting those expectations.
Depending on how grading works in your district, you may be able to offer students some extra credit toward their first-semester grades. For students who didn't pass the semester, this will be invaluable, as it can mean that they won't have to make up an entire semester.
If this isn't possible, consider offering students points toward the upcoming semester so that they have an opportunity to start out ahead instead of behind. Whatever incentive you choose, be sure that students understand it and know exactly what they need to do to meet expectations and accelerate their learning over winter break.
4. Schedule Individual Follow-Up Meetings for Struggling Students
After the break, schedule time to meet with each student who worked on review topics. In this meeting, review expectations, the student's results, barriers to learning during the break, and the incentives received.
Talk about what topics and skills the student can expect to work on in the coming semester, address any barriers the student may have had in completing their assignments, and review options for receiving extra help if the student is having trouble, such as after-school tutoring or open office hours. This can help prevent the student from falling behind in the new semester.
Using the winter break to allow students to review, earn credit for concepts that they didn’t master during the first semester, or get ahead on their coursework can be a great strategy to increase motivation and teach students about the importance of hard work and persistence. Courseware makes it easy for you, as educators, to identify opportunities and accelerate student progress while delivering high-quality virtual learning.
As you prepare for next semester, ensure that your Courseware account is organized and ready for students and staff by using our Account Organization Checklist.
This blog post was originally published on November 26, 2019, and has been updated.