7 Strategies for Boosting Student Engagement
5 Min Read
Written by: Parcel Pending
The concept of student engagement leaped to the forefront of the minds of professors and teachers as they strived to educate, interact, and encourage student participation during pandemic-induced online learning initiatives. As we enter post-COVID normalcy, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate lessons learned, embrace student engagement strategies, and implement university campus improvement ideas and innovations at your higher education institution.
Student Engagement Defined
Student engagement is the level of interest, attention, interaction, commitment, and active participation in the learning process. It also includes the student’s motivation to seek understanding and meaning. Actively engaged students have been linked to improved achievement, persistence, and retention.1 As researcher Melissa Bond explains: “The more students are engaged and empowered within their learning community, the more likely they are to channel that energy back into their learning, leading to a range of short and long term outcomes that can likewise further fuel engagement.”2 In short, engaged students beget students who are even more committed to the learning process.
7 Student Engagement Strategies for Success
#1 Emphasize Active Learning
Just as motivational speaking has evolved from a monologue to a dialogue, so should teaching. Asking questions, fostering discussions, stirring up controversy, and creating “pair and share” conversations with fellow students bolster student motivation and encourage active learning. Role-playing, competitions, debates, and group projects should also be considered as part of your learner engagement and student engagement strategy.
#2 Add Case Studies & Relevant Examples
In our never-ending news stream, teachers and professors need to extract hot off-the-press articles and turn them into student learning moments. Engaging students using intriguing business figures (Elon Musk), marketing masters (Taylor Swift), and sports icons (LeBron James) demonstrates the relevancy of the topic while piquing the interest of students. Again, another sure-fire learner engagement strategy for increasing student motivation and encouraging active learning.
#3 Transform into a Better Speaker
When it comes to the student learning process, recognize that how you say something is just as important as what you say. Harness the power of your voice by ensuring that pace, pause, pitch, repetition, and volume fluctuate as appropriate to the topic. And don’t forget about the lingering effects of storytelling when engaging students. As one speaker states: “data strays, but stories stay.”
#4 Deploy Chatbots
The evidence is clear that virtual learning requires more attention, better self-control, higher motivation, and more astute time management techniques. A controlled study out of Georgia State University proved that performance jumps up when a chatbot sends text messages to students about class assignments, reminders, and course content.3 Students receiving the messages earned final grades a full 11 points higher than their peers. “It just helps to have that additional guidance, support, and partnering with a student, to help teach them how to manage their time,” summarizes Katharine Meyer, a researcher at Brown University.4
#5 Integrate Technology
With TikTok as the fastest-growing social media channel, videos are a valid learning strategy. In one online short video study, student engagement rose by 24.7% and the final exam score improved by 9.0%, compared to the long-video group.5 Since college students are more likely to respond to texts than email messages, it’s paramount to include texts as a communication tool as part of your student engagement strategy.
Multimedia should also play a role in the classroom, whether virtual or in face-to-face situations,. Students demand solid presentations with images, dialogue clips, and podcast excerpts. Utilizing on-screen polling, phone apps, and quizzes also keep students engaged and promotes accessibility in higher education.
#6 Create a Community of Caring
Professors who “check in” with students also report higher engagement. The process may be as informal as sending an email query as to how they are doing to a more formal arrangement like the one at Western Governors University. Upon enrollment for a course, students are assigned a mentor who also acts as a liaison between teachers and students. If instructors see falling grades or incomplete assignments, they notify the mentor to connect with the student immediately. A student not logging in to the learning system for three consecutive days at Georgia State University, for example, triggers an adviser communication. In 2020, over 35,000 interactions were conducted!
#7 Give Feedback Early & Often
Students are eager for feedback. Leveraging technology platforms such as ExamSoft’s Strengths and Opportunities Reports, Turnitin Feedback Studio, and Gradescope allows professors to provide feedback on assignments, especially after a poor test performance.6,7,8
Augment Student Engagement with Smart Lockers
Parcel Pending by Quadient created the Campus Hub™ which acts as a central distribution system for the transfer of enrollment documents, laptops, keys, parking passes, bookstore purchases or library books, move-in materials, and more using smart lockers/electronic lockers. In this way, many friction points are eliminated, adding to a more welcoming student experience.
At Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, for instance, smart parcel lockers were relocated from the Commons to the more convenient student union. A deep dive into locker data revealed that lunch hour was the most common retrieval time. As a result, package delivery to the smart parcel lockers was moved to approximately 11:00 A.M., adding another dose of student satisfaction.
At the University of Pittsburgh, a recent innovation was introduced for the locker systems called “birthday lockers”, through which parents can send college-branded swag items to their children on their birthdays. Students receive a notification via text or email alerting them that they have a delivery. When the door opens, the lockers play “Happy Birthday.” How sweet!
Convenience and innovation exponentially increase the student experience which in turn drives student engagement. Want to learn more about how lockers can support your student engagement strategies? Speak to one of our package management experts today.
- Campbell, Audrey. 10 powerful ways to cultivate student engagement for academic success. www.turnitin.com. August 1, 2023. https://www.turnitin.com/blog/10-powerful-ways-to-cultivate-student-engagement-for-academic-success
- Bond, M., Buntins, K., Bedenlier, S. et al. Mapping research in student engagement and educational technology in higher education: a systematic evidence map. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education 17, 2 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s41239-019-0176-8
- Georgia State University. Classroom Chatbot Improves Student Performance, Study Says. news.gsu.com. March 21, 2022. https://news.gsu.edu/2022/03/21/classroom-chatbot-improves-student-performance-study-says/
- Koenig, Rebecca. As Student Engagement Falls, Colleges Wonder: ‘Are We Part of the Problem?’. www.edsurge.com. June 8, 2022. https://www.edsurge.com/news/2022-06-08-as-student-engagement-falls-colleges-wonder-are-we-part-of-the-problem
- Zhu, J., Yuan, H., Zhang, Q. et al. The impact of short videos on student performance in an online-flipped college engineering course. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 9, 327 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-022-01355-6
- ExamSoft. Enterprise Portal: View the Individual Strengths & Opportunities Report (S&O Report). support.examsoft.com. https://support.examsoft.com/hc/en-us/articles/11166823429261-Enterprise-Portal-View-the-Individual-Strengths-Opportunities-Report-S-O-Report-
- Turnitin. Feedback Studio: Meaningful insights for writing excellence. www.turnitin.com. https://www.turnitin.com/products/feedback-studio
- Gradescope by Turnitin. Deliver and Grade Your Assessments Anywhere. www.gradescope.com. https://www.gradescope.com/