Definition: Content is the knowledge and information you’re imparting to and expecting students to learn.
Value: Content is at the center of your engagement with students; it is what you are wanting them to absorb in your interactions with them and in the lessons you deliver in your courses. It is important to make content relatable, engaging, and clear to all students.
Select the title above to watch Chad Littlefield discuss Content with WSU Tech faculty
(1 hour 29 minutes). If you are asked to sign in to view the video, use your WSU Tech credentials.
Examples and Resources
Video Summary: Chad gives specific examples of activities he's used with participants in an online environment to bring engagement to your content. These three examples use 5 ingredients for creating engaging content to increase engagement.
Engaging Activity Summary: Curiosity Gap
Begin your course in an unusual manner in order to grab students' attention and keep them on edge to try to figure out what will come next.
Book Recommendation: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath & Dan Heath
Engaging Activity Summary: The outline of Made to Stick follows the acronym "SUCCES". Follow these characteristics in your content planning to help make the ideas "stick" for your students:
Simple - find the core of any idea or thoughts
Unexpected - grab people's attention by surprising them
Concrete - make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
Credible - give an idea believability and credibility
Emotional - help people see the importance of an idea
Stories - empower people to use an idea through narrative
Video Summary: At 6:54, Chad suggests making content conversational, but do not talk/lecture more than 18 minutes (like a Ted Talk). Making content conversational allows students to be part of the process and be present and share their experiences as they learn.
Video Summary: At 9:47, students write down their reactions to content, for example in a slide show. Guide the activity by making connections with their prior knowledge as they share their responses. You now have access to the student’s prior knowledge of the content for a reference for connecting current knowledge with new content
Engaging Activity Summary: Story-telling is a powerful way to make content stick as well as making a connection to content. Chad tells a story to provide an example and makes a point of the importance of what he is about to cover next in his topic. He uses pausing to provide emphasis.
Activity: Course Headline
Engaging Activity Summary: What do you actually want students to take away from this course? Example: By the end of this course, I want you to love chemistry. This headline should be placed in a prominent place in your classroom, course shell, or syllabus.
It can be placed in the What’s New Announcement area in Blackboard, your Instructor Welcome, or your Tips for Success document in the Start Here Module. In a face-to-face course, you could display it in a PowerPoint slide the first day of class or write it on the board.
Add “so that” at the end of your headline to convert your headline statement into a real-world application.
Activity: Content to Experience Framework
Engaging Activity Summary: Take any content and convert it into an experience for your students.
Examples: Chad goes through 3 examples of how content may be delivered to a course:
First, he directly reads the information from a slide to the students.
Second, he asks all students to turn their videos off and asks them to use chat to indicate how engaged they feel with everyone in the course. Then he asks everyone to unmute at the same time and say hi all at once.
Third, he asks everyone to turn their videos off and he reads a series of statements about the comfort level of the subject. With each statement, the student is invited to turn their camera back on if they agree with that statement.
Engaging Activity Summary: Run content through the FOGS filter to turn it into an experience for the student.
Framing: Everything should be contextualized. Avoid asking students to complete any activities that do not have a purpose.
Objective: What the goal is at that moment for your student (not the learning objective for your course overall)
Guidelines: Parameters that the students have to complete the activity with (time limit, work in groups, only have access to certain materials, etc.)
Safety – Keep in mind physical and psychological safety (wearing goggles, awareness around tools, or not sharing more than one is comfortable with, etc.)
Activity: Objective Translation
Engaging Activity Summary: Students put class objectives into their own words.
Activity: Thieving Technique
Engaging Activity Summary: Encourage students to reinterpret and “steal” from a lesson what stands out to them