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Faculty Hub for Teaching and Learning Across Multiple Modalities: Student Engagement

What's on this Page:

Overview

Engaged students are invested in their learning.

They are motivated, attentive, curious, and involved. Research demonstrates that engaged students achieve greater academic success. Engagement may include intellectual, emotional, behavioural, or social interactions. On a broader level, student engagement may include student involvement in university governance, program development, or civic activities. This guide focuses on the classroom teaching and learning environment.

Use Blackboard's tools to support a learning community,  improve teacher feedback, enhance communication, validate student opinions, increase instructor and learner presence, and develop authentic conversation.

Student Engagement Features

  • Skills Engagement (Staying current with homework and making an effort )
  • Emotional Engagement (Making the course personally interesting)
  • Participation/Interaction Engagement (Having fun and actively participating in discussions)
  • Performance Engagement (Doing well in the course—good grades)

Dixon, M.D. (2010, June). Creating effective student engagement in online courses: What do students find engaging? Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 10(2). 1-13.

Feedback: Instructor to Student

Good Designs for Written Feedback for Students (pdf)
Feedback: Negative, Positive or Both? from Faculty Focus

The Almond Joy of Providing Feedback to Students - Try a new and maybe more substantive approach to feedback. Consider the coconut "chewy goodness" of positives through out the assignment, the almond "hard things" the must be addressed, and the "chocolate coating" encouragement. It's a different approach from the "sandwich" method, which can lack dimension.

 

Chappell, K. (2019, March 11). The almond joy of providing feedback to students. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/educational-assessment/the-almond-joy-of-providing-feedback-to-students/

Nicol, D. (2010). Good designs for written feedback for students. In W.J. Mckeachie & M. Svinick (Eds.), McKeachie's teaching tips: Strategies, research, and theory for college and university teachers (109 - 123). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Feedback: Student to Instructor

Mid-Semester feedback gives students to opportunity to share their concerns, and allows you time to make appropriate changes to the course. These surveys are not the same as the final course evaluations given by the school or department. They are for you to learn more about your students and their learning experience with you. The focus is on your teaching presence, the course delivery & design, and how engaged the students feel.  And, any instructor can easily use their Blackboard course to conduct an online survey, even for face-to-face courses.

Why Seek Student Feedback?

  • Enhance students' learning experience
  • Ensure the effectiveness of the course design and delivery
  • Enable a dialog with students
  • Help students reflect on their experiences
  • Identify good teaching practices
  • Measure student satisfaction
  • Contribute to staff development

(Brennan & Williams, 2004, p.11)

What Should You Ask?

Just like writing an exam, it's important to ask the right questions. Instructors should think through their past teaching experiences and consider which areas they want to examine and which areas they would like to improve. Select two to three topics to keep the survey reasonably brief and encourage completion.

The surveys may include questions such as:

  • Does the instructor treat students with respect?
  • Does the instructor encourage class participation?
  • What is working well for you in this class? What are you struggling with? 
  • What could the instructor change to improve your learning experience in this class? 

Another well-known approach is the Stop, Start, Continue survey method. It's fast and easy to conduct. There are three open-ended questions, which often yield very rich information.

  1. Stop: What would you like me to stop doing?
  2. Start: What recommendations do you?
  3. Continue: What is working well for you?

Resources

Gathering Feedback from Students article includes sample forms for the classroom from Vanderbilt University 

Large set of sample of mid-semester feedback surveys includes items from Princeton, Middle Tennessee State University, Otis College of Art, UC Berkeley, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, NYU, Washington University, and Humboldt State University.

Mid-Semester Feedback article from University of Texas, Austin's Faculty Innovation Center. This article discusses the "why" of collecting student feedback during the semester and the "how", which includes selecting the right survey, administering it, and analyzing the results.

Student questionnaire template and a list of question ideas from The McGraw Center for Teaching & Learning at Princeton University 

Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains
This free online tool is based on work supported by a  National Science Foundation grant. You can learn more about the validity, the privacy policy, and how to use the tool by visiting the website.

How to Get Better Feedback from Students article from Faculty Focus

Use of the 'Stop, Start, Continue' Method journal article in Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

References

Brennan, J. and Williams, R. (2004), Collecting and using student feedback: A guide to good practice. Retrieved from https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/id352_collecting_and_using_student_feedback_a_guide_to_good_practice.pdf.