The term student engagement is becoming increasingly prevalent in higher education circles, but what does it actually mean? Why is it so important? And where are we currently going wrong?
What student engagement looks like
Student engagement can typically be separated into three categories;
- Behavioural engagement: these are behaviours that can be considered constructive to University life.
|Positive||Attending lectures (on time;) keeping up with deadlines and|
partaking in extra-curricular activities.
|Negative||Anything from skipping lectures to active boycotts.|
- Emotional engagement: shown through student’s attitudes to University life.
|Positive||Showing genuine interest in studies; feeling included in |
University communities; general satisfaction with University
|Negative||Boredom, rejection of University life; general dissatisfaction|
- Cognitive engagement: Shown through student attitudes to learning.
|Positive||Taking a proactive approach to studies; actively seeking out |
|Negative||Not handing in assignments; handing in assignments late; not |
putting effort into work.
The importance of engagement
Some of the benefits of engaging your students are blatantly obvious:
the minimum financial loss of a first year drop out is £18,500; students who aren’t engaged are less likely to perform well, and this in turn can be detrimental to league table rankings. Its obvious why its in Universities’ interests to make sure their students are engaged. A lack of engagement reflects badly on teaching methods, University resources and the quality of campus life as a whole.
When students aren’t engaged, it means that they’re unhappy. Whether this be with their course, their social life or their University as a whole, it ultimately means that the University is in some way failing to meet their student’s needs. In a society where student mental health is becoming an increasingly prevalent issue, this simply can’t be allowed to happen. Students rely on their University not only for academic success but for welfare support too- doing the upmost to improve engagement is vital.
What can be done?
Engaging students means engaging all of them, and its no secret that students are pretty well accustomed to following the masses and doing what everyone else is doing. So what’s the solution? Bring them together.
At tyfy.co our online peer mentoring system brings students together in a way that promotes engagement on behalf of all participants. Older students are able to engage in an extra-curricular activity that boosts their CV (93 percent of employers said that soft skills are a very important factor in hiring decisions). Younger students are able to take part in an activity that engages them in their studies and boosts their academic success (62% of mentees said that a peer mentor encouraged them to study more).
All of this, then, means that not only are students better engaged, they’re more academically successful, they’re better prepared for life after University, they’re happier – and their University looks good too. A connected campus is a more engaged campus and every students deserves the chance to be a part of one.
Interested? You can see more about what Tyfy does to promote student engagement (and everything else that matters) here.