student engagement

Don’t Knock TikTok (Yet): Lessons from Livestream Content

The rapid rise of livestream content development and consumption has been nothing short of remarkable. According to Ceci (2022), 126.7 million users in the United States viewed livestreaming content on mobile devices in 2019; the same year, 23 percent of Americans livestreamed content themselves. In

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How OER Motivate My Students and Renewed My Love of Teaching

As students, I think we all had moments when we questioned the point of certain assignments. They might’ve been simple ones—posters, diagrams, or short stories meant to be completed quickly, graded, and never discussed again. You may have even told yourself that you didn’t have

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Courage and Consistency as Keys to Student Engagement

Like so many other professors, I’ve noticed that student engagement is lower now than it was even five years ago. Students are skipping class, skipping assignments, and getting AI to do their reading and writing for them in ever-increasing numbers. When I sign in to

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Inviting Students into Your World

I spent many years managing a multimillion-dollar marketing budget for an online program and many years training faculty to be great teachers. One thing both experiences taught me is that institutions too often let marketing encroach on teaching. They do so when they create

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Student Engagement Is Not Student Learning

When my son was growing up, my wife and I bought memberships at the local science museum so we could take him there any time we wanted. Like many parents, we wanted him to grow up in an intellectually stimulating environment. No vacuous video games

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Creating Compelling Animations for Your Online Course

While animation used to be the purview of professional studios, today software like Vyond makes it easy for those with no animation skills at all. I design and teach an online college-readiness course that includes a wide variety of engaging content; however, students continue to

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The rapid rise of livestream content development and consumption has been nothing short of remarkable. According to Ceci (2022), 126.7 million users in the United States viewed livestreaming content on mobile devices in 2019; the same year, 23 percent of Americans livestreamed content themselves. In other words, a vast segment of the US population finds livestream content valuable to both consume and create. Not surprisingly, Gen Z students are heavy livestream users (Huang, 2022). Considering the sheer popularity of livestreaming platforms, especially among those of traditional college age, educators should pay attention to these phenomena and even try to garner a few teaching strategies that may align with livestream content.

Recently, the three of us conducted a study measuring motivations, information behaviors, and perceived credibility differences between livestreaming video and prerecorded videos on social media (Rubenking et al., 2023). Without digging too deeply into the results, we found, first, that our 369 participants—all aged 18–24—generally consumed non-live content more than live videos when they were targeting information-based content. Second, participants found edited content to be more credible than live content. Third, community and social interaction were not significant factors when participants chose to consume information live. From a teaching and learning perspective, what can we glean from these results?

Flexibility (still) reigns

During the COVID-19 pandemic, synchronous and HyFlex environments saw a renaissance (Mentzer & Mohandas, 2021). The issues surrounding these modalities’ implementation are well documented (Strawser, 2022), and as we continue to recover, it is important to remember that asynchronous learning can still achieve learning goals and in fact may be preferable for its flexibility and potential to communicate content in different ways (through visuals, editing, and other means).

Craving credible content

Not surprisingly, participants in our study appreciated non-live content that incorporated visuals or different ways to share information. This potentially entails some editing. While it may not be realistic for instructors to become world renowned video editors, having basic editing skills is appropriate for today’s classroom (Oranburg, 2020). (See this piece for tips on creating more engaging and interactive videos.) The fundamental issue here is that students want content that looks and feels credible. In many ways this is encouraging. The fact that students recognize differences between content that may or may not be trustworthy is a good sign that some semblance of information literacy is taking root.

Social is social anywhere

Our respondents indicated that the live social community was not a particularly strong selling point to join a livestreaming community. Instructors would do well to remember that social can be social anywhere and that the synchronous elements of community may not be important enough for students to opt in to live elements. Yet we know the importance of social learning (Chuang, 2021), and we also know that live streamers can teach us how to integrate with a live audience if we want to be engaging (Gonzales & Heck, 2020). The important takeaway here is to give students an opportunity to learn in a community when you can.

Livestream teaching tips

Our findings might indicate that livestream content preferences are still a future desire of our students, not a present demand. But the overwhelming number of livestream participants in other areas seems to indicate that, at the very least, our students may appreciate the ability to watch their instructor work out problems in real time. Here are a few quick tips for teaching using livestreams:

Moving forward

Livestreaming is yet another way to reach students. As such, when we consider a livestreaming content shift, we should keep in mind student needs and the end goal, student learning. Livestreaming can be a semiflexible, social, and credible means to teach a generation of students clamoring for relevant content. Be purposeful and intentional but not fearful.


Ceci, L. (2022). Number of live video viewers in the United States from 2019 to 2014. Statista.

Chuang, S. (2021). The applications of constructivist learning theory and social learning theory on adult continuous development. Performance Improvement, 60(3), 6–14.

Gonzales, E. B., & Heck, A. J. (2020, October 7). Managing the chat in online teaching: What we can learn from live streamers. Faculty Focus.

Huang, K. (2022, September 16). For Gen Z, TikTok is the new search engine. The New York Times.

Mentzer, N., & Mohandas, L. (2021). Student experiences in an interactive synchronous HyFlex design thinking course during COVID-19. Interactive Learning Environments.

Rubenking, B., & Strawser, M. G. (2023). Learning from a live stream: Differences in motivations, psychological needs, perceived learning, and information behaviors across live streaming and nonlive social media video viewing. Technology, Mind, and Behavior.

Strawser, M. G. (Ed.). (2022). Higher education implications for teaching and learning during COVID-19. Lexington Books.

Oranburg, S. (2020, March 13). Distance education in the time of coronavirus: Quick and easy strategies for professors. Duquesne University School of Law Research Paper No. 2020-02.

Perrone, V. (1994). How to engage students in learning. Educational Leadership, 51, 11–13.

Michael G. Strawser, PhD, and Bridget Rubenking, PhD, are associate professors and Erica Kight, PhD, is an associate lecturer in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media at the University of Central Florida.