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Encouraging Student Engagement


Director, Centre for Academic Development, University of Auckland, New Zealand ... Why has the term engagement entered into the lexicon of learning and teaching? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Encouraging Student Engagement

Encouraging Student Engagement
Attainment Queens University of Belfast 17/18th
A Southern Hemisphere Perspective on Student
  • Lorraine Stefani
  • Director, Centre for Academic Development,
    University of Auckland, New Zealand

Student Engagement An Overview
  • The concept of engagement what does it mean?
  • Why has the term engagement entered into the
    lexicon of learning and teaching?
  • How is engagement being measured?
  • The scholarship of student engagement
  • The strategic approach to enhancing student

Define Student Engagement
Student Engagement What does it mean?
  • Engagement refers to the time energy and
    resources students devote to activities designed
    to enhance their learning at University

Student Engagement further defined
  • The well adjusted and engaged student is one who
    assesses and re-assesses their thinking as
    transitions and opportunities to engage in
    different ways continue through and beyond the
    first year of university (Krause, 2006)

A Curriculum for Engagement
  • A curriculum for engagement calls for a
    teaching that is likely to engage, to connect, to
    lift, to enthuse, even to inspire. A Curriculum
    for engagement calls for a pedagogy for
  • (Barnett and Coates, 2005)

  • Why is the concept of student engagement a hot
    topic in Higher Education?

Student Engagement as a Hot Topic
  • Changing student demographics (Net Gen, Gen Y)
  • Global marketing of education
  • Government imperatives on retention and
  • Another push for radical curriculum change?

What is being measured?
  • Student views on
  • Orientation and induction (institutional/faculty/d
  • Paid work/relationship to (dis)engagement
  • Motivation to study
  • Engagement with academic staff/peers/learning
  • Perceptions of/satisfaction with teaching
  • Academic advice
  • ICT/online resources
  • Assessment

Measuring Student Engagement
  • How can we realistically measure whether or not
    our students are engaged?
  • Do student surveys provide meaningful data?
  • Who owns the survey questions?
  • Are surveys the only approach to measurement?

Dimensions of student engagement
Connectedness and Student Engagement
  • Connecting with peer groups
  • Connecting with the research and the researchers
    of their discipline (a scholarly community)
  • Connecting with the institution
  • Understanding student support services
  • Learning the language and conventions of the
    disciplinary field of study
  • Learning how to do the learning in a particular
    subject area

The Complexity of Student Engagement
  • Contextual factors beyond the University
    (educational, linguistic, socio-cultural
    background and experience).
  • Paid work and other life commitments
  • A one-size fits all conception of engagement
  • The nature and mission of the institution
  • Students perceptions of the relevance of their
    studies re personal career aspirations and goals
    for the future.

Academic Orientation (Induction)
  • 2004 study 50 of respondents believed that
    orientation programmes provided a good
    introduction to the University.
  • 40 of students felt that those programmes helped
    to develop a sense of belonging in the University
  • 25 of respondents did not think orientation
    programmes helped them to feel a sense of

Adjusting to Study
Are we keeping up to date with technology in
  • Most universities are unprepared for the changes
    society requires they are not versatile or very
  • Most universities have still not perceived that
    the arrival of new information technologies
    totally changes the role of the institution and
    the educational process and those that cannot
    adapt to the changes due to institutional inertia
    will see their function turn obsolete, their
    financial bases destroyed, their technologies
    substituted and their role in scientific and
    intellectual research reduced.
  • Guardian Weekly, July 27, 2007

Strategic Approach
  • A holistic approach within the institution.
  • Institutional change from structure to culture,
    from top down decision making to the creation of
    faculty wide commitment from hierarchy to
    development of leadership, from delivering
    products to coaching for change processes.
  • Development of a shared vision on curriculum
    standards, pedagogy and the skills necessary for

The Strategic Approach ctd.
  • Academic initiatives designed to integrate ICT
    into the undergraduate and postgraduate
    curriculum with the aim of providing new learning
  • Development of a culture of collaboration using
    the full potential of technology.
  • Better use of time in and out of the classroom,
    improved communication and enhanced interaction
    with course materials.

Towards a scholarship of student engagement
  • Discussion and explanation of the personal and
    institutional processes involved in study and
  • Greater acceptance of a wide range of different
    motives and types of engagement
  • Much more explicit discussion of key assumptions
    and principles of the nature of university level
    study and the culture of the disciplines
  • Reconsideration of how language can alienate
    learners, students have to be able to apprehend
    the implicit structure of the discourse
  • Educating students about more complex aspects of
    process through which disciplinary aims may be
    realised. (learning how to do the learning in a
    disciplinary subject area

A research Agenda on Student Engagement
  • Enhancing our understanding of the relationship
    between levels of student engagement and
  • Identifying the characteristics of significant
    learning experiences.
  • Examining the validity and reliability of survey
    questions relating to student engagement
  • How might we transform the current academic
    culture to develop disciplinary based
    professional educators without compromising the
    level of importance of disciplinary based

Radical Change
  • The shift from a deficit model of the individual
    towards an attempt to understand social attitudes
    and practices as the cause of such perceived
  • A shift from . . What is wrong with this student?
    To what are the features of the curriculum or the
    processes of interaction around the curriculum
    which are preventing some students from being
    able to access this subject?

Practical Steps to Enhance Levels of Engagement
  • Clear statements regarding staff and student
  • A first year student web-site
  • Create a Student Experience Unit
  • Celebrate teaching recognition, support,
  • Research and document teaching and learning
    practice from a first year experience
  • Provide annual awards for quality first year
  • Review the academic agenda and promote academic

Academic Development
  • How easy is it to engage academic staff in
    real, meaningful, sustainable change (culture)?
  • Change is a journey not a blueprint.
  • Good practice is rarely simply transferable.
  • Academic developers themselves need to reflect on
    current assumptions about appropriate pedagogies
    for 21st C students!

In the Final Analysis
  • The more students learn, the more value they find
    in their learning, the more likely they are to
    stay and graduate. This is particularly true for
    more able and motivated students who seek out
    learning and are in turn more likely to respond
    to perceived shortcomings in the quality of
    learning they experience on campus. Lest we
    forget, the purpose of higher education is not
    merely that students are retained but that they
    are educated. In the final analysis student
    learning drives student retention (Tinto, 2002).
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