How to Enhance Student Participation in a Virtual Setup?

Classrooms incorporate students with distinct characters some are always ready to raise their hand to participate and some are hesitant to come forward and engage in classroom discussions. It’s a complicated process to bring students into conversations that require them to be vocal.


With the commencement of lockdown, getting students to participate have intensified the challenge for teachers. A surge in digital platforms can create communication barriers and online engagements are often hindered by technological issues. Consequently, many teachers have had to rely on students on various work-related submissions or inquiries. Since we call this generation of digital natives, students tend to know more technical aspects than teachers. However, even if they are tech-savvy, students do need personal support and validation that technology does not provide.

Let’s look at how to improve student participation virtually with synchronous and asynchronous strategies--

  • Synchronous learning Techniques:

Spider web discussions: before the beginning of the live session, ask students to frame their questions and answer them independently on the topic which is to be discussed on that day. Also, let them share their responses at the start of the class for a broader discussion. Then teachers are supposed to track the flow of conversation in a sheet of paper by drawing lines creating a spider web. Later, they can show the picture and ask students what they learned from their peers, who shared better ideas and who listened attentively. In this way, students will get a chance to review each other’s work and imbibe some positive traits from them.

Chats to check their understanding: after the lecture, students can use any chat feature to answer the questions or type in emoticons to show whether they have understood the topic or not. For instance, they can write T or F to answer true or false questions or thumbs up or down emoticon to make teachers better understand their students.

Autonomy for students: One of the teachers believes that giving students the freedom to experiment, research, and pursue interest would encourage them to hold richer discussions. Initiate project-based learning activities for elementary and middle school is also a great option.

  • Asynchronous Learning Techniques

Creating online forums to review and respond: Nearpod Collaborate is a virtual collaboration platform for students to share images or write a response to anything related to studies.

Virtual feedbacks: Seeing and critiquing others work digitally would allow students to monitor each other’s work. Using Google sheets students can provide feedback by answering questions like what is something new I have learned or which part of the presentation did I like the most etc. The online forum allows students to review their peers work and attain deeper reflection about a particular topic.

Virtual Brainstorming of ideas: students can be divided into groups and we can ask them to create Google slides where they can mention their thoughts or ideas about a particular topic. In this way, children will be able to get different perspectives.

What looks important is the fact that the learning process is more effective than learning. When students actively collaborate with their teachers and peers generates a positive atmosphere which eventually leads to a better understanding and enhanced experience in their journey towards progress

Vinod Kakumanu

Vinod Kakumanu

Founder & Consultant - School Serv

Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.

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