How to make your college course more exciting

As many universities transition to online Learning Management Systems (LMS), many of the traditional techniques familiar and used by generations of professors are lost in the process. Utah State University has moved to the CANVAS LMS, and there are many methods to incorporate these former strategies, and new applications that online systems bring to keep millennial learners engaged, excited and entertained while maintaining the educational purpose of courses. But for some of the seasoned professors who haven’t yet made the leap, a few simple steps can have tremendous impact on their courses.

Using my experience as a United States Air Force pilot, and through a powerful story of watching one of the last Space Shuttle launches, I highlight 10 techniques that have helped my courses Takeoff! While much of the research into online or eLearning is relatively new, there is a growing body of work related to these technologies. This article makes no attempt to capture all the ideas, but counts down ten that can be easily incorporated in any existing course. Using storytelling is one idea that is easily adapted to an online format, and build the anticipation by counting down from 10 in the final seconds of a rocket launch. My goal is that each reader will find at least one idea that they can incorporate or improve on that reaches the one student, and helps them start their journey, wherever it may lead!