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Student engagement: how to quantify
conference contributionposted on 21.02.2019, 00:00 by Nirmal Mandal
CONTEXT - Engagement is one of the main visions of Central Queensland University. This vision supports strategies of engagement with students and staff, the community and other stakeholders including local industry partners. For innovation in learning and teaching practices aimed at increasing student satisfaction, retention and reducing student attrition, a proper student engagement is the main key for School of Engineering and Technology (SET). It is very essential to develop a framework of student engagement that generates interest and stimulates the curiosity of students to learn in lower level engineering units such as Structural Mechanics. The student cohort consists of school leavers, mature age students and students from diverse cultural backgrounds in both distance and multi-campus modes. PURPOSE - The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effectiveness of a student engagement framework in my Structural Mechanics unit focusing on student satisfaction and feedback. It also focuses on how student motivation and satisfaction characteristics link to students learning in a traditional study setting. APPROACH - Offering valuable, well-planned progressive class-room activities – engagement strategies – helps to increase student satisfaction and learning and student attendance. It is essential to link all possible engagement approaches to stimulate student interest and learning. Influential learning and teaching (L&T) practices are the core of the framework to engagement of engineering students in their learning process. A student’s learning process starts with good class-room and off class-room activities including tag questions, reflection and quizzes on unit content, physical 3D models and toys, animation etc. Off class-room activities include after hour Zoom sessions for tutorial and other activities, quick telephone and e-mail communication addressing individual student’s needs, responding to unit Moodle site discussion and news forums. The impact of this approach and framework is evaluated using online evaluations through CQU’s Student Experience Survey (SES). With careful consideration and evaluation of these data, the effectiveness and usefulness of outstanding L&T practices focussing on engagement strategies is evaluated. A few recommendations are proposed through an Annual Unit Enhancement Report (AUER) to the program committee of the school with a view to implement improvements in the next offerings. RESULTS - The satisfaction data of my Structural Mechanics unit obtained by SES were low initially. With the introduction of innovative teaching practices through student engagement, my Structural Mechanics unit showed that the student satisfaction has improved significantly over the corporate target lately. CONCLUSIONS - The effectiveness of proper student engagement positively influences student interest and learning. It has been evaluated though SES that student satisfaction was gradually increasing through creating a better student learning environment.