This course will become read-only in the near future. Tell us at if that is a problem.

Syllabus- What shall we learn together?

  Syllabus- Student Engagement

This is a six week course on student engagement in the classroom. Participants are expected to examine their own ideas about engagement, as well as to freely share with other participants about their experiences with engagement and the context of where, who, and how they instruct. Some assignments are optional and many assignments will provide one or two “Must-Do” portions and other “May-Do” portions for those that want more. Course participants are expected to try out activities in their own classrooms or learning environments.


Bonita DeAmicis has been involved in various face-to-face and online staff development trainings for the last ten years of her 20 years in education. She is fascinated by this idea of open university and the ability of peers to learn together on a subject of interest. She also is happy to find herself as part of a groundbreaking group, attempting to make this new form of online learning a reality for educators. Student Engagement has been a particular area of passion for Bonita and she looks forward to sharing what she has come to understand as well as comparing notes and learning from participants.

  Should you need to communicate with Bonita:
or use the course private message feature

You may also follow Bonita on twitter: @bonitadee
And follow her occasional blogging meanderings here: learnlogblog

Participants who are accepted into the course may be given an opportunity to receive text messages that encourage and provoke learning throughout the course.

  Orientation (September 20-27)- A quick introduction before or at the beginning of the course. Note that dates in the course are flexible for participant schedules.  Weeks posted are targets for completion of activities, not hard dates.


  • To familiarize students with course protocol/agreements

  • To meet one another

  • To set learning goals

  • To understand the P2PU resources and other resources for learning.


  • Read and discuss our class agreements

  • Tell about yourself and your goals for the course.

  • Start a journal or blog to track your thinking

  • Begin to plan your final culminating project:

    • Your culminating project is a lesson plan that uses this template to design a lesson with student engagement in mind.  This is the rubric we will use to discuss and think about each project.  

    • Any participant who has a different project in mind, my propose it to me at  I am happy to hear other ideas that may work better for your given circumstances.

 Week One (Sept. 26 to Oct. 3)-Exploring Ideas about Student Engagement
(Notice that weekly dates extend beyond a week-that is in recognition that some may need some flexibility to complete each week's assignments.).


  • To explore our own thoughts about student engagement through discussion, readings, and videos.

  • To create a working definition for student engagement.

  • To read a summary of a survey of high school students and what that survey revealed about engagement.



  • Read at least one article from a selection of articles on engagement

  • Read the summary on the Survey of High School Students

  • Respond to thinking prompts about engagement.

  • Create and use a survey for your students about their engagement with school or in your class.


 Week Two-(Oct. 4-Oct. 10) Exploring Elements that go into Student Engagement


  • To appreciate the complexity of the concept of engagement by identifying elements that play a role in student engagement.

  • To discuss and invent ways teachers can influence the individual elements that play a role in student engagement.

  • To test whether influencing an individual element in your learning environment leads to better student engagement.



  • Create a list of the elements that play a role in student engagement.

  • Take part in filling out a graphic organizer to invent ways to influence these selected elements: interest, participation, and relationship.

  • Try out an experiment on one element of engagement in your classroom and share your results with the group.

  • Participate in optional webinar to refine definition of and ideas about engagement.


  Week Three (Oct. 11-Oct. 17)- Motivation, Creativity, Agency- Essential to Engagement?


  • To hear from Daniel Pink and Alfie Kohn on theories of motivation.

  • To listen to Sir Ken Robinson on the importance of creativity in education.

  • To learn about how teachers may build "agency" by carefully choosing their words.

  • To examine our own habits and practices in relation to the ideas presented by these leaders.



  • Describe, discuss, and evaluate methods of motivating students that you have seen and/or tried.

  • Interview at least one creative person as to their experiences in school and bring that information back to share with the course participants.


 Week Four- (Oct. 18- Oct. 24) Classroom Structures and Engagement


  • To learn about three different structures for learning: project-based, process-based, and direct instruction.

  • To examine how different learning structures may require different emphases for encouraging student engagement.

  • To observe classrooms and/or student work in order to define and evaluate engagement strategies in use.


  • identify the qualities that make a lesson fit into each category: project-based, process-based, or direct instruction,

  • list, describe, and prioritize methods for encouraging engagement within each category. Debate the merits of lesson structures to engage and disengage.

  • Watch lessons to examine and evaluate methods of engagement.

  • Participate in optional webinar to discuss lesson design in relation to engagement strategies.


 Week Five- (Oct. 25- Oct. 31) The Zone of Proximal Development and the Nature of Flow


  • To learn about the zone of proximal development (zpd) and how it influences student engagement.

  • To understand what mechanisms in curriculum lesson planning, and learning environments can build on the power of zpd and flow



  • Define zpd and apply it to student learning and lesson design.

  • Explain the elements that create flow and analyze elements needed in a learning environment to encourage flow.


 Week Six-(Nov.1-Nov.6) Engaging Students in a World of Standardization


  • To examine the new common standards with an eye toward lessons that use emotional engagement.

  • To create a project specific to your learning environment that implements engagement ideas from this course.

  • To evaluate this course for both learning and engagement.



  • Deconstruct a common standard and identify how it could be applied in different educational structures: project-based, process-based, and direct instruction and using different engagement methods.

  • Help create and then respond to a survey on this online course and its role in your learning and your engagement.

  • Complete and share culminating project

  • Participate in optional webinar to summarize our ideas and learnings.


Icons by Axialis Team

Task Discussion