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Effective Group Work Strategies for the College Classroom. • Featuring content from A MAGNA PUBLICATION Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom December 2009
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2 Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom • BUILDING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT: 15 STRATEGIES FOR THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM The reasons why students need to be involved and engaged when they attend college are well established. Engagement can be the difference between completing a degree and dropping out. Research has sought to identify what makes student involvement more likely. Factors like student-faculty interaction, active and collaborative learning experiences, involvement in ex- tracurricular activities, and living on campus have all been shown to make a difference. Not surprisingly, faculty play a critical role in student engagement … from the obvious: facili- tating discussions in the classroom; to the often overlooked: maximizing those brief encoun- ters we have with students outside of class. This special report features 15 articles that provide perspectives and advice for keeping students actively engaged in learning activities while fostering more meaningful interactions between students and faculty members, and among the students themselves. For example, in “Student Engagement: Trade-offs and Payoffs” author E Shelley Reid, associate professor at George Mason University, talks about how to craft engagement-focused questions rather than knowledge questions, and explains her willingness to take chances in ceding some control over students’ learning. In “The Truly Participatory Seminar” authors Sarah M. Leupen and Edward H. Burtt, Jr., of Ohio Wesleyan University, outline their solution for ensuring all students in their upper- division seminar course participate in discussion at some level. In “Reminders for Improving Classroom Discussion” Roben Torosyan, associate director of the Center for Academic Excellence at Fairfield University, offers very specific advice on balancing student voices, reframing discussions, and probing below the surface of group discussions. And finally, in “Living for the Light Bulb” authors Aaron J. Nurick and David H. Carhart of Bentley College provide tips on setting the stage for that delightful time in class “when the student’s entire body says ‘Aha! Now I see it!’” Who wouldn’t like to see more light bulbs going on more often? One of the most challenging tasks instructors face is keeping students engaged. Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom will help you meet that challenge while ensuring your classroom is a positive and productive learning environment. Maryellen Weimer Editor The Teaching Professor
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3 Building Student Engagement: 15 Strategies for the College Classroom • Table of Contents Student Attention Spans .............................................................................................................................................. 4 Student Engagement: Trade-offs and Payoffs ................................................................................................................ 4 What Do Students Think about Active Learning? ........................................................................................................ 6 Freaks and Brainiacs .................................................................................................................................................. 6 Participation: Revisiting the Basics .............................................................................................................................. 7
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