Rachel N. Baum

Jewish Studies

Intervention Overview
In Spring 2015, I added a few elements to my online class that provided great rewards. The question I started with was simple: Could I create the engaged, active environment I wanted in my online course simply by creating opportunities for such engagement and providing students course points for participating? The results were decisive and very positive: Students not only enjoyed the connection with their peers and appreciated the ability to earn extra credit, but reported that participating in these additional activities helped them to learn the course material on a deeper level.

Course Information
Title: Jewish/Hebrew Studies 261: Representing the Holocaust in Words and Images
Level: Undergraduate
Session type: 16 week semester
Enrollment: 40 students

Pedagogical Challenge


Intervention Components

Students provided anonymous feedback on the intervention through an instrument that provided closed and open-ended questions. These questions focused on measuring student satisfaction regarding the intervention, as well as the impact the intervention had on [insert different areas measured based on pedagogical goals]. Students were also asked to reflect on things that worked well and convey constructive feedback for future changes to the intervention to benefit future students.

[Insert information regarding response rate—Example: Although twelve students engaged in the peer review activity, only three students submitted the project survey.] [Insert results—Example: While this a limited number of participants, those who completed the survey agreed that the intervention:
• Helped them to engage with their classmates around the course concepts utilized throughout the P.E.R.I.E process.
• Allowed them to think about their own work through the review of others.

They further indicated that it “was interesting to see other people’s ideas” and that it helped them to “better understand what was expected of [them] for [their] draft.” When asked about things they might change about the activity, students indicated that it might be helpful to “have a longer timeframe to complete the activity” and to instill a “system to require that each student gets two reviews” as reviews weren’t necessarily assigned.]

At the end of the semester, I gathered student feedback via a survey with closed and open-ended questions. The student responses in the discussion tools also offered significant qualitative feedback, as I could see their active and deepening engagement with the issues of the course. Students were asked about which extra credit activities they engaged in, the extent to which the activities connected them to the course topics, and the extent to which they experienced the activities as valuable.

18 of 40 students responded to the survey. All of the supplemental learning activities were judged valuable by my students, but the Ginkgotree discussions, the additional D2L posts, and the “Thoughts, Feelings, Challenges” forum were considered especially valuable. What is notable is that these experiences not only helped students to feel connected to the class and other students, but actually helped students to engage more deeply with the material of the class. One student wrote that the extra credit discussion opportunities “created a space for each of us to express our thoughts and feelings that related to the topic at hand. In realizing that others were feeling and thinking the same thing made it [sic] easier to grasp emotionally.” Another student said, “Other people’s connections helped me better understand material,” and yet another said, “It was engaging and increases the level of dialogue that you don’t usually get in an online class.”

Instructor Reflection
How do you feel the tool or strategy performed in achieving the intended pedagogical goal for the intervention?
Did the tool or strategy have an additional, unintended effect on your students?
Did this tool or strategy affect your teaching philosophy?
What would you have done differently, if anything, in this project?


Please include all assignments, instructions, and support materials that you used to facilitate the intervention. For each artifact, we will need some information that contextualizes the artifact for an uninitiated viewer. Here are a few questions that may help you contextualize the artifacts:

• What was the purpose for the artifact? What did you hope it would accomplish? Why did you make the choices you made in its creation?
• How was the artifact distributed to your students? When was the artifact distributed?
• If the artifact was not successful, how would you change the artifact?


What did you provide that prepared your students for the intervention. Was there a News announcement, a section in your syllabus, an assignment that supplied materials for the intervention?


What did you provide that allowed your students to successfully complete the intervention? These items probably comprise assignment sheets and course content (videos/reading), but could also be descriptions in D2L tools, like discussion area/quiz/dropbox… They could also be News announcements or emails to help your students stay on track, or further define your expectations.


What did you do to provide feedback to your students about their performance during the intervention? Items in this category could include rubrics or other assessment tools. However, even if you did not supply students with formal feedback, please describe how you communicated student performance?

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