What does engagement mean?
The core strategies of any university are to teach, engage students and equip them with the skills necessary for work and for making a contribution to society. The student experience throughout their time at BU is a key focus for the university with engagement being a vital component.
Student engagement means understanding student's expectations and takes many forms, for example involving students in research, working with students to develop and deliver unit content, students training other students and assessment and feedback.
Student engagement in learning and teaching refers to students as active participants in the academic environment which, in turn, leads to an enhanced learning experience and student journey.
You can often produce quite large educational gains when students do for themselves and for each other what teachers previously did for them – and all this is often free.
There is a clear crossover with student co-creation which can be thought of as an enhancement engagement.
Pedagogic perspective on engagement
Engagement relates to students' engagement with their studies with a clear focus on the supporting pedagogic practices. Newmann (1992) stated that engagement occurs when "students make a psychological investment in learning. They try hard to learn what school offers. They take pride not simply in earning the formal indicators of success (grades), but in understanding the material and incorporating or internalizing it in their lives".
How does it work?
Engagement is a broad area containing many potential tools and processes. It can be thought of as more of a philosophy than a process to be followed with tutors using a multitude of techniques to engage students in their studies.
What are the challenges?
An important element of engagement relates to the lectures and seminars provided for students and the degree to which these are relevant, interesting and appropriate for students, and this can be a challenge. Appropriateness has a subject-specific component and a teaching-level component. Tutors can gain guidance on the teaching-level component from BU’s generic assessment criteria, which set out the expectations of students at different levels on their journey through university.
QAA. Student engagement.
Kahu, E R. 2013. Framing student engagement in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 38:5, 758-773.