Dixson, Marcia D. “Creating Effective Student Engagement In Online Courses: What Do Students Find Engagement.” In Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, vol. 10, no. 2 (June 2010): 1-13.
Abstract: While this paper set out to discover what activities and/or interaction channels might be expected to lead to more highly engaged students, what it found was a bit different. After first creating a scale to measure online student engagement, and then surveying 186 students from six campuses in the Midwest, the results indicate that there is no particular activity that will automatically help students to be more engaged in online classes. However, the results also suggest that multiple communication channels may be related to higher engagement and that student-student and instructor-student communication are clearly strongly correlated with higher student engagement with the course, in general. Thus, advice for online instructors is still to use active learning but to be sure to incorporate meaningful and multiple ways of interacting with students and encouraging/requiring students to interact with each other.
The full article is available from ERIC here.