Student Engagement in All Courses in All Modes

An engaged student is at the heart of learning. While attending DREAM in February I took part in a session that identified four key components that lay the foundation of student engagement:

  1. Know ALL of your students names
  2. Be flexible to the realities of life
  3. Meet one-on-one with every student regularly
  4. Create highly structured courses

Whether we are teaching face-to-face, blended or on-line these foundational components help instructors make lasting connections with students. Those strong connections fostered by an open, challenging, flexible learning environment create classrooms (in person or virtual) that make student success the first mission of very course.

Knowing and utilizing all of your student’s names is very important to building trust within your courses. When giving feedback, use their name so that they feel the constructive criticism is meant for their own improvement. In discussions, call upon them by name, make a connection to their lives outside of the classroom. Try and make conversation concerning outside interests, family or hobbies. Students want to know you care about more than just the grade in Blackboard.

Be flexible to the realities of life. This one is hard, we all know being flexible is not always good for student success. However, we can all think of situations where real-life happens and gets in the way of classroom expectations. In those instances, error on the side of student success, meaning what would be the best decision that will foster the learning necessary for the student to be successful.

Meet one-on-one regularly, sounds great right!? This takes a lot of time and organization to do effectively. Set up your course so that throughout the instructional weeks you build engaging activities that provides you with some one-on-one time with each of your students. Have check points within projects or collaborative activities so that the meetings have structure, but do not forget to personalize your interactions.

Create highly structured courses, thankfully our support from Learning Solutions help us do just that! Students want structure, they want to understand how the course will flow and what to expect along the way. Major changes in the middle of courses, whether it be with general organization, instruction, or assessment will be meat with anxiety. Try and stay as consistent as possible notifying student well in advance of any changes. Structure your courses in a way that the student feels valued, listened to, and challenged all at the same time. You will be well on your way to engagement!

One thought on “Student Engagement in All Courses in All Modes

  1. Certainly these criteria are helpful, important, and perhaps even non-negotiable; on the other hand, these guidelines could well be implemented by the students relative to their instructors.

    1. Learn their names — today, after 8 weeks I received an e-mail from a student and was greeted with “Hi Wes.”

    2. Flexibility – I have 4 students presenting a CSS = creative slice of oneself; only two are present to present, the other two are absent and there was no communication from the two via phone or e-mail that they would not be present

    3. One-on-one – perhaps SPARK is the closest I may come on this one having over 200 students; the students can always stop by during office hours, if possible, to chat

    4. Highly structure, however as it states in my syllabus – Course Calendar – What is due? When? As your instructor, I retain the right to make changes based on the timeline of the class, feedback from the learners and/or logistical issues. I will inform you as soon as a change is made.

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