Date of Award

January 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Bonni Gourneau


In the past decades, online course enrollment has steadily increased in popularity. In 2020, the Covid-19 global pandemic suddenly shifted most teaching and learning into the virtual world. The entire education system tried to quickly learn how to cope in this environment. Given the clear benefits of online learning, such as flexibility and versatility, coupled with instructors being more capable because of the pandemic, it is projected that online learning will continue to remain a popular option for students. Knowing how to best engage students in an online environment is crucial to student success. Their engagement in the course positively correlates with academic success and satisfaction. This study assesses which instructional strategies are most engaging according to participants’ self-reported levels of engagement, as measured by motivation, enjoyment, and benefit to learning. This research assesses seven comparative sets of instructional strategies: three for writing online in the target language, three for speaking interpersonally in a breakout room, and one for peer presentational interaction. The participants were 19 undergraduate students in the second semester of introductory French at a liberal arts college in the Midwest. Results indicate that all strategies assessed in comparative sets were at least somewhat engaging, with all engagement averages between 3.2 and 4.4 on a 1 to 5 Likert scale. Although there were preferences for and against certain strategies, the positive results of this study result in a toolkit of instructional strategies that engage students in an online, synchronous course. This study culminates in an interactive website that explains the instructional prompts assessed and associated quantitative and qualitative results.