See Student Engagement Soar

Use Harmonize’s student engagement platform to improve student participation.

Getting students to engage online might feel impossible…

Harmonize makes it a cinch.

Increase student engagement

Harmonize shows students and instructors everything that’s happening, at a glance. As a result, it’s easy for students to discover content and for instructors to monitor student engagement. Reactions and tagging make collaborating in online discussions feel easy and natural for students.

Keep students on the ball by providing more structure

Milestones, or multiple due dates, help students remember deadlines and engage now instead of at the last minute. Use them to set clear expectations, remind students of approaching due dates, and pull them back into the conversation.

Chat and polls

Increase interactions between students and instructors

Encourage more vibrant and frequent interactions by giving every student a pathway to participation. Use annotations to provide richer feedback and facilitate peer-to-peer learning. Instructors can also spark new conversations using chat, polls, and Q&A boards.

These features are designed to maximize student engagement. And they do.

Grid view

Gauge student engagement at a glance. The Harmonize layout makes it easy to see which conversations have the most engagement and what students are saying.

flag icon Milestones

Lend structure to your course experience. Milestones help students see what’s expected of them, and when, so they make substantive, on-time contributions.

rich multimedia icon Rich multimedia

Why should students only be able to post text? Harmonize supports video, images, audio, and embedded URLs, so students can finally express themselves.

Q&A Boards icon Q&A

Let students answer each others’ questions. Leave Q&A boards up all term to avoid repeated questions and help students share information in one place.

polls icon Annotations

Adding annotations to content promotes peer-to-peer learning, richer instructor feedback, and deeper engagement with course material.

reactions & tagging icon Tagging

Pull students into the conversation by tagging them directly. Students and instructors have the ability to tag anybody in the class.


Keep students on task and help them meet deadlines with notifications. Add a custom notification for the whole class or individual students.

chat bubble icon Chat

Using Harmonize Chat, instructors and students can communicate in real time. It’s easy for students to see which classmates are online and begin a new chat.


Use polls to gauge understanding, assess students, or review content. You can even use a poll to take attendance. Run a poll on its own or add it to any discussion.


Students can use emojis to respond to their classmates. Reactions lower the barrier to responding to peers and help more students contribute.

Student Engagement Platform

When considering strategies for how to make online learning more engaging and effective for students, some of the best approaches involve facilitating peer reviews, small groups, and implementing milestones.

Southern Arkansas University Tech, which has experienced an 80 percent improvement in online student participation, employed several strategies, including the learner-centered strategy of peer reviews, and couples it with opportunities for students to provide feedback and also work 1-on-1 and in small breakout groups with each other through virtual chat portals. To achieve any of this, you need a student engagement platform.

For example, In a SAU Tech online speech course, students are required to write a narrative speech and submit it for peer critique. Through prompts set by milestones or multiple due dates, students provide at least three posted comments on a certain number of students’ speeches. As an ongoing activity, students strengthen their evaluative skills, practice articulating constructive feedback, and become receptive to feedback. They also come together one on one to provide each other with feedback — essentially creating virtual feedback sessions or campus labs to engage.

Setting clear expectations for students, milestones can help guide students through collaborative learning activities — keeping them on track and engaged with one another, while simultaneously working to create a stronger sense of community as they work together.

“The feedback students were providing was at least 10 times better, and the number of comments per speech more than doubled when set milestones for them. We also found that anonymous posts elicited more constructive feedback, which is helping our students better iterate their work before final submissions and grades,” said SAU Tech instructional designer Traci Rushing.

Students at SAU Tech also participate in small-group collaboration projects. That collaboration is powered through chat portals. The key here is familiarity.

“It looks and feels like text messaging — a familiar medium of communication for students. However, rather than taking the students out of the course to a mobile texting app, we use tools that are connected to the course in order to keep students engaged in the relevant material.”

With the right tools to create these virtual campus labs for students, instructors can easily incorporate a wide range of collaborative activities, including facilitating discussions by section or groups, breaking students out into groups by topic, and supporting student-led discussions. These online learning strategies for college students encourage more student-to-student communication and continue to honor the asynchronous communication needs of most online learners.

Tracking Student Engagement

Once you have a student engagement platform, you have to track student engagement. Figuring out how to measure student engagement in higher education has always been challenging. Adding to that complexity, many institutions are also trying to figure out how to measure student engagement online. So an important element of any student engagement platform is tracking student engagement — which is not possible when an institution relies on a variety of disconnected digital learning tools that aren’t fully integrated with the LMS.

For example, consider the heavy lift required for grading students when all of these tools are disconnected or not integrated with the LMS. When instructors at Brown University started using a suite of LMS-integrated discussion & collaboration tools to evaluate student participation, it drastically reduced many of the time-consuming tasks often involved with assessing student work and allowed more time for instructors to provide constructive feedback.

Instructors often had to dig through 60-page discussion threads, as well as search through activities in other systems, like WordPress and Google docs. This meant additional hours and the manual task of entering grades in the LMS. With a consolidated, comprehensive set of tools, instructors can:

Instructors agree. At Fayetteville State University, 100% of instructors indicated feeling better equipped to evaluate participation when they used Harmonize’s discussion & collaboration tools. When you have a single suite of connected tools working together, that integrate with the LMS and allow you to build more engaging online courses, you’ll end up having something so much more powerful: student engagement data and the know how to measure student engagement online.

With behind-the-scenes analytics built into your course activities, instructors and administrators can quickly understand how students are progressing toward goals, and what course activities are working. You can see who, how, and when students are participating in courses, which students need more attention, and which topics worked best. In addition to implementing best practice student engagement strategies as well as a student engagement survey, these kinds of student engagement insights can help instructors trigger customized outreach to specific students — promptly and proactively re-engaging them in discussion and working to get them back on track.

It’s an easy and effective way to help instructors improve engagement and retention in their courses — but not possible when the data doesn’t exist or is scattered among several disparate tools.

Student Engagement Tools and Strategies

Listed below are a few active learning strategies examples and activities to engage students in online learning. Of the many student engagement tools and strategies, using emotion-based, multimedia & student-facilitated discussions is how to engage students in online learning.

In fact, one of the engagement activities for students online that instructors can leverage is emotion-based prompts. To illustrate course concepts or materials, instructors can use prompts that reference current events and social justice issues to solicit response from students.

This gives all students the chance to articulate their opinions, understand competing perspectives, and compose thoughtful responses — including those who tend to be naturally shy or need to feel the discussions are a safe space. To signal course discussions as safe spaces, enable anonymous posts when identity is not important. Students are more likely to participate, and it’s a way to help students discuss difficult topics as well as figure out how to resolve conflict.

Similarly, you’ll spur student participation in online discussions when you encourage different mediums of response.  Instead of long, text-heavy threads, consider how much more interesting and engaging discussions will become when you introduce multimedia options. With student engagement tools like video, image, annotation, audio & captioning, and text, you allow for a wider range of responses and empower students to express themselves in the ways they’re most comfortable.

In addition to being more inclusive of how students learn, student-facilitated discussions are another way to encourage interactivity in online courses. This technique prepares students to be knowledge-producers and actively engages them in the learning process through exploratory discussion.

Studies even show that peer-led discussions enhance community and encourage other students’ participation, while also being beneficial for learning outcomes — generating innovative ideas, motivating students to participate in the discussion, and providing a risk-free and relaxed atmosphere for discussion. It empowers students to take ownership of online discussion assignments while developing facilitation and discussion skills, and serves to redefine the instructor’s role from daily discussion manager to facilitation coach.

Finally, explore other pathways for communication, such as polls and course Q&A, to ask students where more discussion focus is needed and what else you can do to create a positive learning environment. Polls are also an opportunity for how to engage students at the beginning of a lesson. Creating online discussions that are relevant to today’s students, more inclusive of diverse learning modalities, and that can drive connection through peer learning are effective ways to build better student engagement in online learning. And the best part of all with these student engagement tools, there is no separate student engagement portal to log into. All of these tools integrate with the LMS and are easy for both instructors and students to use.

Online Student Engagement Platform

The popularity of online learning has skyrocketed in recent years. While some institutions have made the transition to an online student engagement platform, others have struggled. With more and more students participating in classes online, it’s imperative that instructors become familiar with some of the best practices and student engagement tools in order to ensure a positive experience, both for themselves and their students.

The bottom line is that having access to the right student engagement platform to power effective learning is paramount. The best online learning platforms ensure that the technology is inclusive of different learners’ styles, fosters social connection and community, and is designed to help instructors track student participation could spell the difference between student success or attrition.

To do all of this, some institutions rely on a variety of disconnected tools that aren’t fully integrated with the LMS — creating additional barriers for instructors and making it more difficult to create a cohesive learning experience that engages students.

A student engagement platform, Harmonize offers a range of online tools for student engagement to improve retention, including rich multimedia discussion and Q&A boards, polling, chat, and more — all of which allow students to participate in the ways that work best for them. Using online tools for student engagement increases the quality and quantity of student-to-student, student-to-content, and student-to-instructor interactions.

Harmonize is a suite of digital discussion and collaboration tools that integrate seamlessly with your LMS to facilitate a more engaging online learning experience. It’s everything an instructor needs to increase student engagement online and promote inclusive learning, while saving time and eliminating manual tasks.

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