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100+ Activities for Motivating and Retaining Learners Online

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

Indiana University

Curtis J. Bonk is Professor in the School of Education at Indiana University (IU) teaching psychology and technology courses and Adjunct in the School of Informatics at IU. He is a former software entrepreneur, certified public accountant, corporate controller, and educational psychologist who presently is an educational technologist, award-winning writer, highly published researcher, statewide and national awardee in innovative teaching with technology, and internationally acclaimed presenter. Curt is the author of over 400 publications including 20 books such as the Handbook of Blended Learning: Global Perspectives, Local Designs, MOOCs and Open Education in the Global South, The World is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education, and Transformative Teaching Around the World. He has given close to 2,000 talks around the world, including over 300 keynote and plenary talks. In 2020, Curt was awarded the IU President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Technology and in 2021, he received the David H. Jonassen Excellence in Research Award. Recently, the American Educational Research Association (AERA) named him a 2022 AERA Fellow for his exceptional contributions to, and excellence in, education research, and the following week, he was honored with the International Engagement award from the IU School of Education. In 2022, he was also listed in the top 2% of scientists in the world based on publication citations for career. In 2023, AERA awarded Curt and his colleague Dr. Min Young Doo from Kangwon National University in Korea with the Outstanding International Research Collaboration Award and a few months later the US Distance Learning Association honored him with a USDLA Excellence in Distance Learning Research Award in Higher Education. Curt Bonk co-hosts the weekly award-winning podcast show, Silver Lining for Learning ( He can be contacted at and his homepage is
Elaine Khoo

Massey University

Elaine Khoo is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Education at Massey Waikato, New Zealand. Her master’s in psychology with an emphasis in cognitive science is from Vanderbilt University and her doctorate is in education from the University of Waikato. She has keen interests in digital pedagogies (effective teaching and learning in digital technology-supported contexts) including online, blended, mobile, flipped and virtual learning environments. Her PhD research, focused on effective online pedagogies with particular interests in online learning communities, provides the ground for her research interests. She has worked as an academic staff and researcher on a number of externally funded research projects associated with these interests across the early years, primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.