Distance learning classes are incredible solutions for overcoming school closures and providing inclusive education. But with so much distance between participants, it can be difficult to foster an interactive environment in such courses.

Fortunately, a wealth of education technology is available, so online classes can be just as engaging as their in-class counterparts. Here are five ideas for changing your distance learning classes from one-way snooze fests into exciting interactive events.

1. Create Biography Assignments

Pair off your students and ask them to write biographies about each other. Require them to set up video calls (or voice only if they’re extra shy) to interview and get to know each other better—no cheating by simply emailing lists of questions to answer in writing. This will stimulate some out-of-class mingling and simulate a brick-and-mortar education experience for online learners.

2. Make Time for Group Discussions

One of the most common methods for creating interaction in a classroom is the group discussion. With group video calling available via many different platforms, you can easily take a few moments in your online class to break up into small brainstorming sessions. When everyone dials back into the main classroom, the groups can take turns sharing the results of their chatting.

3. Use Flipgrid for Video Assignments

We’ve talked about Flipgrid before, showing how a visualizer (document camera) is an excellent option for using as a third-party USB camera with the innovative educational video platform. You can easily use Fligrid in your distance learning classes to foster interaction. Simply record a video prompt, and then ask your students to record their replies to you and their peers.

4. Have a Competition

Having a competition is an interesting way to up the interaction. In math class, students can compete to see who can solve for X the quickest. If you're teaching a distance learning exercise class, you could have participants call in two at a time and go head-to-head to see who can hit the most reps at a given exercise while you cheer them on and remind them to use the proper form. You can also encourage your students to do video-call workouts together outside of class.

5. Open Live Comments on Livestreams

A great way to enable interaction during a livestream class is to enable live commenting. Obviously, you won’t want to do this during a lecture, but you could put a relevant graphic or image on the screen under your visualizer and let students discuss and debate in the comments.

Distance shouldn’t stop you from creating opportunities for interchange between your students. All you need is some common technology and a pinch of creativity.