Ensuring your students are reading their assigned materials can be a challenge, particularly in an online setting that does not easily facilitate reading checks through discussion. As the online TA below demonstrates, a little bit of fun and creativity can go a long way towards encouraging reading:
I struggle to make my online classes dynamic and ensure that students are reading the material. Videos are good for introducing material, but I wanted to get a better idea of how much people were reading and what they were reading. I had ten articles in addition to some other readings, and in those articles, I inserted a jpeg of a rather mundane object that I scanned. I scanned things like a coffee pot, bubblegum, a pencil, and my hand. I gave extra credit to students who could identify all of the objects in the readings. All of the instructions were set forth in the syllabus.
Students seemed to respond well to the activity. Most of them at least opened the readings, and the reading responses definitely improved from previous classes. It seems like an effective, fun, and dynamic way for getting students to read more, and the more creative you are with the objects, the more students will get a hint at your personality making you seem more like a person and less like a robot.