ADDING SOME TEC-VARIETY 100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online
Adding Some TEC-VARIETY by Curtis J. Bonk and Elaine Khoo

Motivation is central to all things human. Online teaching and learning are no different. In the early years of the Web, however, students endured extremely dry online content, affectionately known as “shovelware.” Over time, learners were increasingly inundated by bland content and unimaginative activities. Worse, too often they accepted it as reality. In the process, online learning became woefully lockstep and mechanized. There was no room for flexibility, choice, or creative expression of any kind.

Unfortunately, most online content remains lifeless today. Legions of learners are interminably bored. Part of the reason is that their online and blended courses fail to effectively utilize the smartphones, tablets, and other wireless and mobile technologies strapped to their bodies or tucked into in their tote bags. At this very moment, tens of millions of learners around the planet are navigating through seemingly endless pages of their online courses. Unfortunately, most of these learners are swimming in this sea of content without much hope for interaction, collaboration, or engagement. The emergence of massive open online courses (MOOCs), where learners in a single course can number in the hundreds of thousands, has made the present situation even more precarious and a remedy more urgent.

We propose the TEC-VARIETY framework as a solution to the lack of meaningful engagement. It can shift learners from nearly comatose states to actively engaged ones. Adding Some TEC-VARIETY helps instructors focus on how to motivate online learners and increase learner retention. It also is a comprehensive, one-stop toolkit for online instructors to inspire learners and renew their own passion for teaching. Using 10 theoretically driven and proven motivational principles, TEC-VARIETY offers over 100 practical yet innovative ideas based on decades of author experience teaching in a variety of educational settings.

In this book, you will discover:
  • A wellspring of Web resources;
  • 10 fully documented successful motivational principles;
  • Hundreds of activities to motivate and engage online learners;
  • Proven ideas on how to design interactive and collaborative courses;
  • A realistic path toward meaningful and relevant online learning;
  • Detailed risk, cost, and time guidelines for each activity;
  • A thoroughly researched basis for each idea and activity;
  • Hope (yes, real hope!) for engaging online learners.
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Curtis J. Bonk, a former CPA and corporate controller, is professor of instructional systems technology and educational psychology at Indiana University and President of CourseShare. He received the CyberStar Award from the Indiana Information Technology Association, the Most Outstanding Achievement Award from the U.S. Distance Learning Association, the Most Innovative Teaching in a Distance Education Program Award from the State of Indiana, and, in 2014, the Mildred B. and Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for Outstanding Practitioner in Distance Education. He has authored several widely used learning technology books, including The World Is Open, Empowering Online Learning, The Handbook of Blended Learning, and Electronic Collaborators.

Elaine Khoo is a research fellow at the Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She obtained her doctorate in education from the same university and her master's in psychology with a focus on Cognitive Science from Vanderbilt University. At Waikato, Elaine researches online and blended learning, learning communities, participatory learning cultures, and various collaborative learning contexts supported by information and communication technology (ICT). She is currently heading a project examining the notion of software literacy, how it develops, and its impact on university teaching and learning.

The printed version of this book is available for purchase from Amazon CreateSpace and In addition to paperback and Kindle versions, this book is freely available as a PDF document to download, share, and use both in total as well as by chapter; see

Cover Design: Alex Bonk


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