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Increasing Student Engagement. Caroline Clements, Ph.D. Director, Center for Teaching Excellence. Freshman Seminar Annual Instructor Kickoff August 9 th 2005. What is student engagement?. Why do we care about student engagement?. Different types of engagement….

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increasing student engagement

Increasing Student Engagement

Caroline Clements, Ph.D.


Center for Teaching Excellence

Freshman Seminar Annual Instructor Kickoff

August 9th 2005

disengagement starts before college
Disengagement starts before college
  • UCLA’s Higher Education Institute Report
    • Record numbers of high school students are disengaged.
    • 45% are graduating with an A average.
    • The take home message here
      • Students are getting higher grades for disengaged behavior.
how does that manifest itself at uncw
How does that manifest itself at UNCW?
  • Disengaged students come to college with expectations that reflect their lack of engagement.
  • They confuse disengagement with ability.
    • “I’m just not good at……..
  • Our job is to get them to actually test the premise that they lack ability.
  • The Take Home Message Here is:
    • Students will become more engaged if we demand it.
how does university culture support disengagement
How does university culture support disengagement?
  • “The Disengagement Compact”
  • Supported by institutional policies emphasizing larger class sizes and increased teaching loads
  • Supported by faculty having multiple roles
  • Particularly problematic for freshman
what is good practice in increasing freshman engagement
What is good practice in increasing freshman engagement?
  • Start from what we know about students
    • 1) They are not engaged and may not know how to be engaged.
    • 2) They have very high hopes for engagement but do not fulfill these hopes- in part because they are disengaged.
    • 3) They have learned that minimal effort results in pretty good grades.
    • None of this makes them bad students.
the ideal undergraduate experience
The “ideal” undergraduate experience
  • Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
    • Engage students in research in as many courses as possible.
    • Provide opportunities for oral and written communication.
    • Provide opportunities for exploring diverse fields.
    • Offer freshman seminars taught by experienced faculty.
    • Create a sense of community.
    • Foster association with people of diverse beliefs, cultures and ethnicities.
phases of effective learning kolb 1984
Phases of Effective Learning (Kolb, 1984)
  • Getting Involved (Concrete Experience)
  • Listening/observing (Reflective Observation)
  • Creating an idea (Abstract Conceptualization)
  • Making decisions (Active Experimentation)
constructivistic teaching principles brooks 1990
Constructivistic Teaching Principles (Brooks, 1990)
  • Build on student prior knowledge
  • Make learning relevant
  • Give students choice in learning activity
  • Encourage autonomy and active learning
  • Use raw data and interactive materials
  • Encourage student dialogue
  • Seek elaboration and justification
  • Pose contradictions
  • Ask open-ended questions and allow wait time
  • Encourage reflection on experiences
effective classroom practice general strategies
Effective classroom practice: General strategies
  • Peer evaluation
  • Opportunity for written and oral communication
  • Shared responsibility for educational quality and classroom management
  • Exposure to diversity
  • Outcome based assessment
  • Communicating across the curriculum
  • Exposure to non-classroom based experience
effective classroom practice specific strategies
Effective classroom practice: Specific strategies
  • Think-pair-share
  • 3-minute summary during lecture
  • One minute papers
  • Fishbowl discussion
effective classroom practice specific strategies1
Effective classroom practice: Specific strategies
  • The Teaser - Where would we be today if we did not know the structure of DNA? Or current events
  • Pop allusions - how is the musical score to "Lord of the Rings" like an operatic score? How was Scully's use of Western blotting appropriate to solve the mystery? Was it realistic?
  • Debates; develop hypotheses/predict outcome of demonstration; what information would support a hypothesis; class voting
  • Play devil's advocate - what would the opposite outcome mean?
  • Student generated test questions
but none of these matter if students don t engage
…BUT none of these matter if students don’t engage
  • The “loopholes”
    • Group projects often become group solo projects
    • Service learning does not work if students are just clocking hours
    • Technology becomes more bells and whistles if it doesn’t increase investment in the learning process
    • Group learning tasks often result in less preparation
engaging students system changes
Engaging Students: System Changes
  • Grade Inflation
  • Service Learning
  • Discussion Boards
  • Learning Communities (however defined)
  • Globalization of Academia
need help
Need Help?
  • MiddleWeb’s 10 Great Websites for Teachers