Dr Chris Headleand @ChrisHeadleand is an Associate Professor and National Teaching Fellow with over 20 years’ experience in a variety of teaching and learning roles. I am currently the director of Teaching and Learning at the School of Computer Science at the University of Lincoln. My research interests include Virtual Reality, Student Engagement, Serious Games, and Learning Communities.
The focus of this weeks #LTHEchat is Student Engagement. This is a term that we use extensively in Higher Education, but often in a range of different contexts. We use the term to describe everything from “being engaged” (i.e. paying attention) in lectures to tangible inclusion of student’s voices in institutional decision making, to simply “turning up” or “logging on”. The range of available definitions can make discussion and debate challenging.
I explain my philosophy in this THE article:
Expressly, I caution against describing the act of “being engaged” as “student engagement”, and I use a cooking analogy to explore the difference.
“If we make a dish, an “engaged diner” would be focused on the meal and the dining experience. As chefs, we have prepared something they enjoy, and they are motivated to eat it. By comparison, “diner engagement” would be inviting the diner to join you in the kitchen, asking them to help you plan the meal, maybe getting their tasting notes as you prepare the dish and perhaps even giving them access to the spatula.”
Headleand 2021 / Times Higher Education
Defining these qualities differently is essential as they are inherently different qualities and activities. If we want to understand the student experience better, we should explore its various facets. As a rule, I prefer the following definitions, as they separate out different ways people define “engagement”.
Student Commitment: A holistic measure of a student’s personal engagement in their learning environment.
Student Motivation: A student’s enthusiasm and interest directed towards specific topics or learning activities.
Student Participation: The process by which students are encouraged to actively take part in a learning activity.
Student Engagement: The practice of involving students in education beyond the typical threshold requirements of their programme of study.
I am also concerned about how we measure the concept of being engaged. Often in the pedagogic literature, engagement is measured rather bluntly using attendance as the metric. Does this actually help us measure how engaged someone is? If I went to the cinema to watch a film and fell asleep during the intro, would I have “engaged” with that? But if not engagement, then how should we tangibly measure engagement?
But if not attendance, then what measure should we use?
In this LTHETweetChat we will discuss the academic realm of student engagement. Specifically how we define it, what benefits it brings, and how we should measure it.
Q1 Lets start with a fun one. What is the most engaged you have ever felt? Either as a student or professional. What made that experience feel “engaging”, or why was being “engaged” important to your experience?
Q2 Student engagement is a term used ubiquitously. How would you normally define student engagement if you were explaining it to someone new to education? What other definitions have you heard?
Q3 Using this definition (Student Motivation)
“A student’s enthusiasm and interest directed towards specific topics or learning activities.”
How do you encourage motivation in your students? How do you develop enthusiasm in learners?
Q4 Using this definition (Student Participation)
“The process by which students are encouraged to actively take part in a learning activity.”
How do you create an environment where students want to actively participate? What are your key strategies?
Q5 Using this definition (Student Engagement):
“The practice of involving students in education beyond the typical threshold requirements of their programme of study. “
How do you facilitate, support and develop *Student Engagement* in your institution?
Q6 Pick one of the previous definitions (Student Motivation, Student Participation, or Student Engagement) how can we measure or quantify these in an educational setting? How should (or could) these be monitored?
Link to the Wakelet: https://wke.lt/w/s/kAK70K