“Learning is not a spectator sport. Students do not learn much just sitting in classes listening to teachers, memorizing prepackaged assignments, and spitting out answers. They must talk about what they are learning, write reflectively about it, relate it to past experiences, and apply it to their daily lives. They must make what they learn part of themselves.”
— (Chickering & Gamson, 1987)
To increase the level of Student Engagement at UBCO. This will involve action by both partners in the Student Engagement Equation:
What the student does… time and energy devoted to educational activities. (making the right choices)
What the institution does….using effective educational practices. (encourage and support Student Engagement)
Questions to ask ourselves
- What encourages engagement?
- How does it develop?
- How do we develop engaging programs/activities both in terms of the design process & content?
Many factors influence the level of student engagement that we are able to achieve
- Student behaviors (study habits, peer involvement, motivation, pre-university experiences, learning style, time on task).
- Institutional conditions (demographics, policies, support systems, campus environment).
- Instructor (teaching and learning approaches).
- Purpose or goal of student for post-university outcomes.
Student engagement needs a foundation or support system in place that involves faculty, students and the institution.
Engagement can take many forms
Faculty with Student – Student with Student – Student with Community – Student with Content – Student with Process – Student with Mentor
Some Practical Suggestions
- Encourage study groups or a type of learning community within your class. This may instill a sense of belonging or community/identity.
- Ensure academic/personal advising services are available for career and course planning.
- Incorporate service learning if applicable to your course. This will make a connection between the learning and the outside community.
- Ask for and value student input.
Student engagement begins with the first class. We can’t engage the students who are not present. Our teaching and learning approaches should move them beyond just being present and passive to becoming involved and active learners. Let them know that they are a part of this learning activity and have a shared responsibility with you for their own learning. Share expectations even though they may seem obvious.
Engagement is interaction, integration, interdisciplinary, constructivist.
Coates, H. (2005) The value of student engagement for higher education quality assurance.
Quality in Higher Education, Vol. 11, No. 1.
McInnis, C. (2005) Reinventing student engagement and the learning community: strategic directions for policy, research and practice.
Mann, S. (2001) Alternative perspectives on the Student experience: alienation and engagement.
Studies in Higher Education. Vol. 26, No. 1, 2001.