The COVID-19 pandemic forced the transition to emergency online learning without prior preparation or guidelines. This transition has been particularly challenging in developing countries and low-resource contexts and hindered student engagement. We aim to identify the engagement strategies which students, engaging in emergency online learning in low-resource contexts, perceive to be effective. We conducted a sequential mixed-methods study based on Moore’s interaction framework for distance education. First, we conducted a literature review and interviewed ten teachers and ten students to identify a list of engagement strategies. Then, we designed a questionnaire that examines student perceptions of these strategies. We administered the questionnaire to 313 students engaging in emergency online learning in low-resource contexts. Our analysis results showed that student-content engagement strategies, e.g. screen sharing, summaries, and class recordings, are perceived as the most effective, closely followed by student-teacher strategies, e.g. Q&A sessions and reminders. Student-student strategies, e.g. group chat and collaborative work, are perceived as the least effective. The perceived effectiveness of engagement strategies depends on the context and the students’ characteristics, e.g. gender, major, and technology access. To support instructors, instructional designers, and researchers we propose a ten-level guide for engaging students during emergency online classes in low-resource contexts.
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