4. Student Engagement Overview

In the late 1980s, researchers Chickering and Gamson (1987)3 outlined seven principles for good practice in undergraduate education. Good practice in undergraduate education:

1. Encourages contact between students and faculty
2. Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students.
3. Encourages active learning.
4. Gives prompt feedback.
5. Emphasizes time on task.
6. Communicates high expectations.
7. Respects diverse talents and ways of learning.3

Implementing these principles, while challenging, can offer great benefit and reward, especially when they are implement holistically. Chickering & Gamson argued, "While each practice can stand on its own, when all are present their effects multiply. Together, they employ six powerful forces in education:

  • Activity
  • Expectations
  • Cooperation
  • Interaction
  • Diversity
  • Responsibility"

Your personal approach to teaching and the content delivery strategies you utilize are important components in course design and implementation. In the traditional classroom, professors who are not natural-born presenters can be at a decided disadvantage to their "sage on the stage" peers. Active learning strategies place less emphasis on the teacher-fronted classroom and more emphasis on student-centered strategies and student engagement.2 Using them can go a long way to retain student interest, motivation and involvement throughout the quarter, both inside and outside the classroom. In this section, we have included a variety of strategies for promoting student engagement and increasing learning in your courses. Active Learning Approaches includes strategies such as case-based teaching, problem-based learning, project-based learning, debates, role plays and simulations. Active Learning Tools includes practical, hands-on ideas for encourage and assessing more interactive learning in a classroom.

Source Information

1. Mazur, E. (1997) Peer Instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice-Hall

2. Frye, R., Mckinney, G. R., & Trimble, J. E. (2006). Tools and Techniques for Course Improvement: Handbook for Course Review and Assessment of Student Learning. Western Washington University: Bellingham, WA.

3. Chickering, A.W., & Gamson, Z.F. (1987, Fall). Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education, Washington Center News, (n.p.)