September 2015 West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation Best Practices

Amplifying Student Engagement

wc-ctli-new-0915-groveWelcome new West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation team members: Francesco Mele, Nafeesa Khan and Claire Yates

Each month the West Campus Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) team will highlight one topic of interest to our learning community in the West Campus Concentrate. We hope that you will find the information engaging and beneficial to your work in teaching and learning.

And don’t miss our West Campus CTLI Open House on Tuesday, September 29, 2015, from 12 – 2 p.m. in Building 6, Room 326. Stop in to meet our new team members Claire Yates, faculty developer/instructional designer, Francesco Mele, faculty and instructional support specialist, and Nafeesa Khan, staff assistant II. While there, discover new ways to engage your students in active learning. Win prizes too!

Engagement is key! The Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation (CTLI) will be focusing on the different components of student engagement as the overarching theme for this academic year. Engagement can come in many forms, from students devoting time and effort in completing their coursework, to engaging in College activities, events, projects or programs, such as service learning.

Therefore, throughout the year, our monthly features will address an array of student engagement principles, such as community building, diversity, ways of learning and meaningful use of active learning activities.

dan-ariely-pull-quote-270wHigh student engagement occurs when students can connect to and find meaning in the learning process. According to Daniel H. Pink in his book, “Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” motivational research has shown that powerful outcomes occur when people engage in self-directed learning are provided the opportunity to master a form of knowledge and their work is given purpose.

The teaching challenge is how to provide the space and structure that allows our students to take these principles and flourish. When students are engaged, they become motivated to learn, and the overall outcome is student success.

For this feature, here is a brief example of what is upcoming on engagement, active and collaborative learning.

Featured Faculty Video: Active Learning Showcase

Ignite the fire in your classroom through the use of active learning, which allows students to think independently and critically, while working collaboratively with their peers. Active learning allows students to engage with the content in your classroom by reading, writing, talking, listening and reflecting.

In this Active Learning Showcase video, professors introduce the active learning strategies, collaborative concept mapping, jigsaw, experimental design and problem-based learning, in various disciplines.

The feedback from students on the value of active learning and their retention of information was remarkable:

  • “One of the things I love the best is the teamwork. It’s easier to understand the work done in class.”
  • “You actually have to use your mind and think about what you’re doing.”
  • “It’s definitely more fun because it’s interactive and you feel more involved … Putting into practice what we’re learning in class gives you a better perspective.”

Thanks to Rick Dexter, professor of biology; Joshua Guillemette, professor of mathematics; Kate Baldridge-Hale, professor of EAP; and David Freeman, professor of English, who shared their stories, and to Donna Colwell, professor of English, and Kevin Colwell, professor of EAP, who produced the video.

For examples of how each of these faculty members created their active learning sessions, click here.

Upcoming Events and Professional Development

Listed below are faculty development courses in which the topic of student engagement will be further investigated:

ctli-course-chart-sept15-groveFor these courses and all of the 2015 -2016 offerings, log in to Atlas and to register. If you need assistance, click here for video instructions on how to register for a course.

Student Engagement Resources

To read more about student engagement, check out the resources linked below. Additional resources are available in the Center for Teaching/Learning Innovation. Or stop by and have a conversation about ways we can support you in building your own classroom community.


Student Engagement from the Glossary of Student Reform

10 Ways to Promote Student Engagement from Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications

Applying the Seven Principles for Good Practice to the Online Classroom from Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies from Magna Publications

Dan Ariely: What makes us feel good about our work? TED Talk

Professional Development Library Resources Located in CTLI

Brookfield, S., & Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching: Tools and techniques for democratic classrooms (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

McCombs, B., & Whisler, J. (1997). The Learner Centered Classroom and School: Strategies for Increasing Student Motivation and Achievement. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Pink, Daniel (2009). Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.

Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five key changes to practice. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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