Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Liberal Studies


Liberal Studies

First Advisor

Patty Whang


Student engagement in the classroom is vital to academic achievement across all grade levels. This is especially true during middle school, where in-class participation can have a positive impact on emotional and cognitive development. Due to COVID-19 and school closures, students were forced to attend class virtually which had a negative impact on class engagement. Therefore this Capstone project focuses on how middle school teachers are keeping their students engaged during distance learning. This is an important issue that needs to be addressed because if students are not participating in their synchronous class meetings then they are not learning. It is argued that students’ participation and engagement in class are essential to reduce the sense of isolation they may be having. Being engaged in their classes also maintains their desire to learn and still be academically successful. Four middle school teachers were interviewed for this study. After analyzing the data collected, three themes emerged and a combination of two was used to address the issue of virtual student engagement. As a result, an action option was developed which would be the most effective way to improve student engagement in the classroom during virtual instruction and can also be used in the classroom when students return to in-person school.