Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 23

Student Engagement Related Abstracts

23 A Redesigned Pedagogy in Introductory Programming Reduces Failure and Withdrawal Rates by Half

Authors: Said Fares, Mary Fares


It is well documented that introductory computer programming courses are difficult and that failure rates are high. The aim of this project was to reduce the high failure and withdrawal rates in learning to program. This paper presents a number of changes in module organization and instructional delivery system in teaching CS1. Daily out of class help sessions and tutoring services were applied, interactive lectures and laboratories, online resources, and timely feedback were introduced. Five years of data of 563 students in 21 sections was collected and analyzed. The primary results show that the failure and withdrawal rates were cut by more than half. Student surveys indicate a positive evaluation of the modified instructional approach, overall satisfaction with the course and consequently, higher success and retention rates.

Keywords: Interactive learning, Student Engagement, failure rate, CS1

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22 A Study of Faculty Development Programs in India to Assist Pedagogy and Curriculum Development

Authors: Chhavi Rana, Sanjay K Jain


All sides of every education debate agree that quality learning happens when knowledgeable, caring teachers use sound pedagogy. Many deliberations of pedagogy make the fault of considering it as principally being about teaching. There has been lot of research about how to build a positive climate for learning, improve student curiosity, and enhance classroom association. However, these things can only be facilitated when teachers are equipped with better teaching techniques that use sound and accurate pedagogy. Pedagogy is the science and art of education. Its aims range from the full development of the human being to skills acquisition. In India, a project named Mission 10 x has been started by an esteemed IT Corporation Wipro as a faculty development programme (FDP) that particularly focus on elements that facilitated teachers in developing curriculum and new pedagogies that can lead to improvement in student engagement. This paper presents a study of these FDPs and examines (1) the parameters that help teachers in building new pedagogies (2) the extent to which appropriate usage of pedagogy is improved after the conduct of Mission 10 x FDPs, and (3) whether institutions differ in terms of their ability to convert usage of improved pedagogy into academic performance via these FDPs. The sample consisted of 2,236 students at 6 four-year engineering colleges and universities that completed several FDPs during 2012-2014. Many measures of usage of better pedagogy were linked positively with such FDPs, although some of the relationships were weak in strength. The results suggest that the usage of pedagogy were more benefited after conducting these FDPs and application of novel approaches in conducting classes.

Keywords: pedagogy, Student Engagement, Student Learning, critical thinking; achievement

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21 Restructuring the College Classroom: Scaffolding Student Learning and Engagement in Higher Education

Authors: Claire Griffin


Recent years have witnessed a surge in the use of innovative teaching approaches to support student engagement and higher-order learning within higher education. This paper seeks to explore the use of collaborative, interactive teaching and learning strategies to support student engagement in a final year undergraduate Developmental Psychology module. In particular, the use of the jigsaw method, in-class presentations and online discussion fora were adopted in a ‘lectorial’ style teaching approach, aimed at scaffolding learning, fostering social interdependence and supporting various levels of student engagement in higher education. Using the ‘Student Course Engagement Questionnaire’, the impact of such teaching strategies on students’ college classroom experience was measured, with additional qualitative student feedback gathered. Results illustrate the positive impact of the teaching methodologies on students’ levels of engagement, with positive implications emerging across the four engagement factors: skills engagement, emotional engagement, participation/interaction engagement and performance engagement. Thematic analysis on students’ qualitative comments also provided greater insight into the positive impact of the ‘lectorial’ teaching approach on students’ classroom experience within higher level education. Implications of the findings are presented in terms of informing effective teaching practices within higher education. Additional avenues for future research and strategy usage will also be discussed, in light of evolving practice and cutting edge literature within the field.

Keywords: Learning, Higher Education, Student Engagement, Scaffolding

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20 Different Roles for Mentors and Mentees in an e-Learning Environment

Authors: Nidhi Gadura


Given the increase in the number of students and administrators asking for online courses the author developed two partially online courses. One was a biology majors at genetics course while the other was a non-majors at biology course. The student body at Queensborough Community College is generally underprepared and has work and family obligations. As an educator, one has to be mindful about changing the pedagogical approach, therefore, special care was taken when designing the course material. Despite the initial concerns, both of these partially online courses were received really well by students. Lessons learnt were that student engagement is the key to success in an online course. Good practices to run a successful online course for underprepared students are discussed in this paper. Also discussed are the lessons learnt for making the eLearning environment better for all the students in the class, overachievers and underachievers alike.

Keywords: pedagogy, Student Engagement, partially online course, community college

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19 Predictive Power of Achievement Motivation on Student Engagement and Collaborative Problem Solving Skills

Authors: Theresa Marie Miller, Ma. Nympha Joaquin


The aim of this study was to check the predictive power of social-oriented and individual-oriented achievement motivation on student engagement and collaborative problem-solving skills in mathematics. A sample of 277 fourth year high school students from the Philippines were selected. Surveys and videos of collaborative problem solving activity were used to collect data from respondents. The mathematics teachers of the participants were interviewed to provide qualitative support on the data. Systemaitc correlation and regression analysis were employed. Results of the study showed that achievement motivations−SOAM and IOAM− linearly predicted student engagement but was not significantly associated to the collaborative problem-solving skills in mathematics. Student engagement correlated positively with collaborative problem-solving skills in mathematics. The results contribute to theorizing about the predictive power of achievement motivations, SOAM and IOAM on the realm of academic behaviors and outcomes as well as extend the understanding of collaborative problem-solving skills of 21st century learners.

Keywords: Student Engagement, achievement motivation, collaborative problem-solving skills, individual-oriented achievement motivation, social-oriented achievement motivation

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18 Increasing Student Engagement in Online Educational Leadership Courses

Authors: Mark Deschaine, David Whale


Utilization of online instruction continues to increase at universities, placing more emphasis on the exploration of issues related to adult graduate student engagement. This reflective case study reviews non-traditional student engagement in online courses. The goals of the study are to enhance student focus, attention and interaction. Findings suggest that interactivity seemed to be a key in keeping students involved and achieving, with specific activities routinely favored by students. It is recommended that time spent engaging students is worthwhile and results in greater course satisfaction and academic effort.

Keywords: Online Learning, Technology, Student Engagement, Student Achievement

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17 The Negative Effects of Controlled Motivation on Mathematics Achievement

Authors: John E. Boberg, Steven J. Bourgeois


The decline in student engagement and motivation through the middle years is well documented and clearly associated with a decline in mathematics achievement that persists through high school. To combat this trend and, very often, to meet high-stakes accountability standards, a growing number of parents, teachers, and schools have implemented various methods to incentivize learning. However, according to Self-Determination Theory, forms of incentivized learning such as public praise, tangible rewards, or threats of punishment tend to undermine intrinsic motivation and learning. By focusing on external forms of motivation that thwart autonomy in children, adults also potentially threaten relatedness measures such as trust and emotional engagement. Furthermore, these controlling motivational techniques tend to promote shallow forms of cognitive engagement at the expense of more effective deep processing strategies. Therefore, any short-term gains in apparent engagement or test scores are overshadowed by long-term diminished motivation, resulting in inauthentic approaches to learning and lower achievement. The current study focuses on the relationships between student trust, engagement, and motivation during these crucial years as students transition from elementary to middle school. In order to test the effects of controlled motivational techniques on achievement in mathematics, this quantitative study was conducted on a convenience sample of 22 elementary and middle schools from a single public charter school district in the south-central United States. The study employed multi-source data from students (N = 1,054), parents (N = 7,166), and teachers (N = 356), along with student achievement data and contextual campus variables. Cross-sectional questionnaires were used to measure the students’ self-regulated learning, emotional and cognitive engagement, and trust in teachers. Parents responded to a single item on incentivizing the academic performance of their child, and teachers responded to a series of questions about their acceptance of various incentive strategies. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to evaluate model fit and analyze the direct and indirect effects of the predictor variables on achievement. Although a student’s trust in teacher positively predicted both emotional and cognitive engagement, none of these three predictors accounted for any variance in achievement in mathematics. The parents’ use of incentives, on the other hand, predicted a student’s perception of his or her controlled motivation, and these two variables had significant negative effects on achievement. While controlled motivation had the greatest effects on achievement, parental incentives demonstrated both direct and indirect effects on achievement through the students’ self-reported controlled motivation. Comparing upper elementary student data with middle-school student data revealed that controlling forms of motivation may be taking their toll on student trust and engagement over time. While parental incentives positively predicted both cognitive and emotional engagement in the younger sub-group, such forms of controlling motivation negatively predicted both trust in teachers and emotional engagement in the middle-school sub-group. These findings support the claims, posited by Self-Determination Theory, about the dangers of incentivizing learning. Short-term gains belie the underlying damage to motivational processes that lead to decreased intrinsic motivation and achievement. Such practices also appear to thwart basic human needs such as relatedness.

Keywords: Student Engagement, controlled motivation, incentivized learning, mathematics achievement, self-determination theory, student trust

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16 Educating the Education Student: Technology as the Link between Theory and Praxis

Authors: Rochelle Botha-Marais


When lecturing future educators in South Africa, praxis is an indispensable aspect that is often neglected. Without properly understanding how the theory taught in lecture halls relates to their future position as educators, we can not expect these students to be fully equipped future teachers. To enable education students at the Vaal Campus of the North West University - who have the Afrikaans language as major - to discover the link between theory and practice, the author created an assignment on phonetics in which the use of technology was incorporated. In the past, students had to submit an assignment or worksheet and they did not get the opportunity to apply their newly found knowledge in a practical manner. For potential future teachers, this application is essential. This paper will demonstrate how technology is used in the second year Afrikaans education module to promote student engagement and self-directed learning. Students were introduced to innovative new technologies alongside more familiar applications to shape a 21st century learning environment where students can think, communicate, solve problems, collaborate and take responsibility for their own teaching and learning. The paper will also reflect on student feedback pertaining the use and efficiency of technology in the Afrikaans module and the possible impact thereof on their own teaching and learning landscape. The aim of this paper is to showcase how technology can be used to maximize the students learning experience and equip future education students with the tools and knowledge to introduce technology-enhanced learning in their own teaching practice.

Keywords: Technology, Student Engagement, Theory and practice, Self-Directed Learning, education students

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15 Evaluating and Supporting Student Engagement in Online Learning

Authors: Maria Hopkins


Research on student engagement is founded on a desire to improve the quality of online instruction in both course design and delivery. A high level of student engagement is associated with a wide range of educational practices including purposeful student-faculty contact, peer to peer contact, active and collaborative learning, and positive factors such as student satisfaction, persistence, achievement, and learning. By encouraging student engagement, institutions of higher education can have a positive impact on student success that leads to retention and degree completion. The current research presents the results of an online student engagement survey which support faculty teaching practices to maximize the learning experience for online students. The ‘Indicators of Engaged Learning Online’ provide a framework that measures level of student engagement. Social constructivism and collaborative learning form the theoretical basis of the framework. Social constructivist pedagogy acknowledges the social nature of knowledge and its creation in the minds of individual learners. Some important themes that flow from social constructivism involve the importance of collaboration among instructors and students, active learning vs passive consumption of information, a learning environment that is learner and learning centered, which promotes multiple perspectives, and the use of social tools in the online environment to construct knowledge. The results of the survey indicated themes that emphasized the importance of: Interaction among peers and faculty (collaboration); Timely feedback on assignment/assessments; Faculty participation and visibility; Relevance and real-world application (in terms of assignments, activities, and assessments); and Motivation/interest (the need for faculty to motivate students especially those that may not have an interest in the coursework per se). The qualitative aspect of this student engagement study revealed what instructors did well that made students feel engaged in the course, but also what instructors did not do well, which could inform recommendations to faculty when expectations for teaching a course are reviewed. Furthermore, this research provides evidence for the connection between higher student engagement and persistence and retention in online programs, which supports our rationale for encouraging student engagement, especially in the online environment because attrition rates are higher than in the face-to-face environment.

Keywords: Instructional Design, Online Learning, Student Engagement, learning effectiveness

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14 Investigating Chinese Students' Engagement with Teacher Feedback: Multiple Case Studies in a UK University

Authors: Fangfei Li


This research was conducted to explore how Chinese overseas students, who rarely received teacher feedback during their undergraduate studies in China, engaged in a different feedback provision context in the UK universities. In particular, this research provides some insights into Chinese students’ perspectives on how they made sense of the teacher feedback they obtained and how they took it on board in their assignments. Research questions in this study are 1) What are Chinese overseas students’ perceptions of teacher feedback on courses in UK higher education? 2) How do they respond to the teacher feedback they obtained? 3) What factors might influence their engagement with teacher feedback? Multiple case studies of five Chinese overseas students in a UK university have been carried out to address the research questions. The main data collection instruments are various types of semi-structured interviews, consisting of background interviews, scenario-based activities, stimulated recall sessions and retrospective interviews. Research findings indicate that student engagement with teacher feedback is a complex learning process incorporating several stages: from initial teacher input to ultimate transformational learning. Apart from students interpreting teachers’ comments/suggestions by themselves, students’ understandings of and responses to teacher feedback could also be influenced by pre-submission guidance, peer discussion, use of exemplars and post-submission discussion with teachers. These are key factors influencing students to make use of teacher feedback. Findings also reveal that the level of students’ reflections on tutor feedback influences the quality of their assignments and even their future learning. To sum up, this paper will discuss the current concepts of teacher feedback in existing studies and research findings of this study from which reconceptualization of teacher feedback has occurred.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Chinese students, teacher feedback, the UK higher education

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13 Visual Thinking Routines: A Mixed Methods Approach Applied to Student Teachers at the American University in Dubai

Authors: Alain Gholam


Visual thinking routines are principles based on several theories, approaches, and strategies. Such routines promote thinking skills, call for collaboration and sharing of ideas, and above all, make thinking and learning visible. Visual thinking routines were implemented in the teaching methodology graduate course at the American University in Dubai. The study used mixed methods. It was guided by the following two research questions: 1). To what extent do visual thinking inspire learning in the classroom, and make time for students’ questions, contributions, and thinking? 2). How do visual thinking routines inspire learning in the classroom and make time for students’ questions, contributions, and thinking? Eight student teachers enrolled in the teaching methodology course at the American University in Dubai (Spring 2017) participated in the following study. First, they completed a survey that measured to what degree they believed visual thinking routines inspired learning in the classroom and made time for students’ questions, contributions, and thinking. In order to build on the results from the quantitative phase, the student teachers were next involved in a qualitative data collection phase, where they had to answer the question: How do visual thinking routines inspire learning in the classroom and make time for students’ questions, contributions, and thinking? Results revealed that the implementation of visual thinking routines in the classroom strongly inspire learning in the classroom and make time for students’ questions, contributions, and thinking. In addition, student teachers explained how visual thinking routines allow for organization, variety, thinking, and documentation. As with all original, new, and unique resources, visual thinking routines are not free of challenges. To make the most of this useful and valued resource, educators, need to comprehend, model and spread an awareness of the effective ways of using such routines in the classroom. It is crucial that such routines become part of the curriculum to allow for and document students’ questions, contributions, and thinking.

Keywords: Student Engagement, classroom display, thinking classroom, visual thinking routines

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12 Enquiry Based Approaches to Teaching Grammar and Differentiation in the Senior Japanese Classroom

Authors: Julie Devine


This presentation will look at the approaches to teaching grammar taken over two years with students studying Japanese in the last two years of high school. The main focus is an enquiry based approach to grammar introduction and a three tier system using videos and online support material to allow for differentiation and personalised learning in the classroom. The aim is to create space for motivated students to do some higher order activities using the target pattern to solve problems and create scenarios. Less motivated students have time to complete basic exercises and struggling students have some time with the teacher in smaller groups.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Digital technologies, Differentiation, personalised learning plans

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11 Increasing Student Engagement through Culturally-Responsive Classroom Management

Authors: Catherine P. Bradshaw, Elise T. Pas, Katrina J. Debnam, Jessika H. Bottiani, Michael Rosenberg


Worldwide, ethnically and culturally diverse students are at increased risk for school failure, discipline problems, and dropout. Despite decades of concern about this issue of disparities in education and other fields (e.g., 'school to prison pipeline'), there has been limited empirical examination of models that can actually reduce these gaps in schools. Moreover, few studies have examined the effectiveness of in-service teacher interventions and supports specifically designed to reduce discipline disparities and improve student engagement. This session provides an overview of the evidence-based Double Check model which serves as a framework for teachers to use culturally-responsive strategies to engage ethnically and culturally diverse students in the classroom and reduce discipline problems. Specifically, Double Check is a school-based prevention program which includes three core components: (a) enhancements to the school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) tier-1 level of support; (b) five one-hour professional development training sessions, each of which addresses five domains of cultural competence (i.e., connection to the curriculum, authentic relationships, reflective thinking, effective communication, and sensitivity to students’ culture); and (c) coaching of classroom teachers using an adapted version of the Classroom Check-Up, which intends to increase teachers’ use of effective classroom management and culturally-responsive strategies using research-based motivational interviewing and data-informed problem-solving approaches. This paper presents findings from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) testing the impact of Double Check, on office discipline referrals (disaggregated by race) and independently observed and self-reported culturally-responsive practices and classroom behavior management. The RCT included 12 elementary and middle schools; 159 classroom teachers were randomized either to receive coaching or serve as comparisons. Specifically, multilevel analyses indicated that teacher self-reported culturally responsive behavior management improved over the course of the school year for teachers who received the coaching and professional development. However, the average annual office discipline referrals issued to black students were reduced among teachers who were randomly assigned to receive coaching relative to comparison teachers. Similarly, observations conducted by trained external raters indicated significantly more teacher proactive behavior management and anticipation of student problems, higher student compliance, less student non-compliance, and less socially disruptive behaviors in classrooms led by coached teachers than classrooms led teachers randomly assigned to the non-coached condition. These findings indicated promising effects of the Double Check model on a range of teacher and student outcomes, including disproportionality in office discipline referrals among Black students. These results also suggest that the Double Check model is one of only a few systematic approaches to promoting culturally-responsive behavior management which has been rigorously tested and shown to be associated with improvements in either student or staff outcomes indicated significant reductions in discipline problems and improvements in behavior management. Implications of these findings are considered within the broader context of globalization and demographic shifts, and their impacts on schools. These issues are particularly timely, given growing concerns about immigration policies in the U.S. and abroad.

Keywords: Academic Achievement, Student Engagement, ethnically and culturally diverse students, school-based prevention

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10 Enhancing African Students’ Learning Experience by Creating Multilingual Resources at a South African University of Technology

Authors: Lisa Graham, Kathleen Grant


South Africa is a multicultural country with eleven official languages, yet most of the formal education at institutions of higher education in the country is in English. It is well known that many students, irrespective of their home language, struggle to grasp difficult scientific concepts and the same is true for students enrolled in the Extended Curriculum Programme at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), studying biomedical sciences. Today we are fortunate in that there is a plethora of resources available to students to research and better understand subject matter online. For example, the students often use YouTube videos to supplement the formal education provided in our course. Unfortunately, most of this material is presented in English. The rationale behind this project lies in that it is well documented that students think and grasp concepts easier in their home language and addresses the fact that the lingua franca of instruction in the field of biomedical science is English. A project aimed at addressing the lack of available resources in most of the South African languages is planned, where students studying Bachelor of Health Science in Medical Laboratory Science will collaborate with those studying Film and Video Technology to create educational videos, explaining scientific concepts in their home languages. These videos will then be published on our own YouTube channel, thereby making them accessible to fellow students, future students and anybody with interest in the subject. Research will be conducted to determine the benefit of the project as well as the published videos to the student community. It is suspected that the students engaged in making the videos will benefit in such a way as to gain further understanding of their course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, an enhanced sense of civic responsibility, as well as greater respect for the different languages and cultures in our classes. Indeed, an increase in student engagement has been shown to play a central role in student success, and it is well noted that deeper learning and more innovative solutions take place in collaborative groups. We aim to make a meaningful contribution towards the production and repository of knowledge in multilingual teaching and learning for the benefit of the diverse student population and staff. This would strengthen language development, multilingualism, and multiculturalism at CPUT and empower and promote African languages as languages of science and education at CPUT, in other institutions of higher learning, and in South Africa as a whole.

Keywords: Multilingualism, Multiculturalism, Student Engagement, educational videos

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9 Mobile Learning and Student Engagement in English Language Teaching: The Case of First-Year Undergraduate Students at Ecole Normal Superieur, Algeria

Authors: I. Tiahi


The aim of the current paper is to explore educational practices in contemporary Algeria. Researches explain such practices bear traditional approach and the overlooks modern teaching methods such as mobile learning. That is why the research output of examining student engagement in respect of mobile learning was obtained from the following objectives: (1) To evaluate the current practice of English language teaching within Algerian higher education institutions, (2) To explore how social constructivism theory and m-learning help students’ engagement in the classroom and (3) To explore the feasibility and acceptability of m-learning amongst institutional leaders. The methodology underpins a case study and action research. For the case study, the researcher engaged with 6 teachers, 4 institutional leaders, and 30 students subjected for semi-structured interviews and classroom observations to explore the current teaching methods for English as a foreign language. For the action research, the researcher applied an intervention course to investigate the possibility and implications for future implementation of mobile learning in higher education institutions. The results were deployed using thematic analysis. The research outcome showed that the disengagement of students in English language learning has many aspects. As seen from the interviews from the teachers, the researcher found that they do not have enough resources except for using ppt for some teacher. According to them, the teaching method they are using is mostly communicative and competency-based approach. Teachers informed that students are disengaged because they have psychological barriers. In classroom setting, the students are conscious about social approval from the peer, and thus if they are to face negative reinforcement which would damage their image, it is seen as a preventive mechanism to be scared of committing mistakes. This was also very reflective in this finding. A lot of other arguments can be given for this claim; however, in Algerian setting, it is usual practice where teachers do not provide positive reinforcement which is open up students for possible learning. Thus, in order to overcome such a psychological barrier, proper measures can be taken. On a conclusive remark, it is evident that teachers, students, and institutional leaders provided positive feedback for using mobile learning. It is not only motivating but also engaging in learning processes. Apps such as Kahoot, Padlet and Slido were well received and thus can be taken further to examine its higher impact in Algerian context. Thus, in the future, it will be important to implement m-learning effectively in higher education to transform the current traditional practices into modern, innovative and active learning. Persuasion for this change for stakeholder may be challenging; however, its long-term benefits can be reflective from the current research paper.

Keywords: Mobile Learning, Student Engagement, Social Constructivism, Algerian context

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8 Extending the Flipped Classroom Approach: Using Technology in Module Delivery to Students of English Language and Literature at the British University in Egypt

Authors: Azza Taha Zaki


Technology-enhanced teaching has been in the limelight since the 90s when educators started investigating and experimenting with using computers in the classroom as a means of building 21st. century skills and motivating students. The concept of technology-enhanced strategies in education is kaleidoscopic! It has meant different things to different educators. For the purpose of this paper, however, it will be used to refer to the diverse technology-based strategies used to support and enrich the flipped learning process, in the classroom and outside. The paper will investigate how technology is put in the service of teaching and learning to improve the students’ learning experience as manifested in students’ attendance and engagement, achievement rates and finally, students’ projects at the end of the semester. The results will be supported by a student survey about relevant specific aspects of their learning experience in the modules in the study.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Student Achievement, Egypt, attendance, British University, flipped, student-centred, students’ projects

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7 Online Graduate Students’ Perspective on Engagement in Active Learning in the United States

Authors: Ehi E. Aimiuwu


As of 2017, many researchers in educational journals are still wondering if students are effectively and efficiently engaged in active learning in the online learning environment. The goal of this qualitative single case study and narrative research is to explore if students are actively engaged in their online learning. Seven online students in the United States from LinkedIn and residencies were interviewed for this study. Eleven online learning techniques from research were used as a framework.  Data collection tools were used for the study that included a digital audiotape, observation sheet, interview protocol, transcription, and NVivo 12 Plus qualitative software.  Data analysis process, member checking, and key themes were used to reach saturation. About 85.7% of students preferred individual grading. About 71.4% of students valued professor’s interacting 2-3 times weekly, participating through posts and responses, having good internet access, and using email.  Also, about 57.1% said students log in 2-3 times weekly to daily, professor’s social presence helps, regular punctuality in work submission, and prefer assessments style of research, essay, and case study.  About 42.9% appreciated syllabus usefulness and professor’s expertise.

Keywords: Online Education, Student Engagement, course management, class facilitation, online teaching

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6 Modeling Engagement with Multimodal Multisensor Data: The Continuous Performance Test as an Objective Tool to Track Flow

Authors: David J. Brown, Mohammad H. Taheri, Nasser Sherkat


Engagement is one of the most important factors in determining successful outcomes and deep learning in students. Existing approaches to detect student engagement involve periodic human observations that are subject to inter-rater reliability. Our solution uses real-time multimodal multisensor data labeled by objective performance outcomes to infer the engagement of students. The study involves four students with a combined diagnosis of cerebral palsy and a learning disability who took part in a 3-month trial over 59 sessions. Multimodal multisensor data were collected while they participated in a continuous performance test. Eye gaze, electroencephalogram, body pose, and interaction data were used to create a model of student engagement through objective labeling from the continuous performance test outcomes. In order to achieve this, a type of continuous performance test is introduced, the Seek-X type. Nine features were extracted including high-level handpicked compound features. Using leave-one-out cross-validation, a series of different machine learning approaches were evaluated. Overall, the random forest classification approach achieved the best classification results. Using random forest, 93.3% classification for engagement and 42.9% accuracy for disengagement were achieved. We compared these results to outcomes from different models: AdaBoost, decision tree, k-Nearest Neighbor, naïve Bayes, neural network, and support vector machine. We showed that using a multisensor approach achieved higher accuracy than using features from any reduced set of sensors. We found that using high-level handpicked features can improve the classification accuracy in every sensor mode. Our approach is robust to both sensor fallout and occlusions. The single most important sensor feature to the classification of engagement and distraction was shown to be eye gaze. It has been shown that we can accurately predict the level of engagement of students with learning disabilities in a real-time approach that is not subject to inter-rater reliability, human observation or reliant on a single mode of sensor input. This will help teachers design interventions for a heterogeneous group of students, where teachers cannot possibly attend to each of their individual needs. Our approach can be used to identify those with the greatest learning challenges so that all students are supported to reach their full potential.

Keywords: Machine Learning, Interaction, Student Engagement, Engagement, HCI, Multimodal, Learning Disabilities, Flow, multisensor, affective computing in education, affect detection, continuous performance test, physiological sensors

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5 Implementing Effective Strategies to Improve Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: Balancing the Engagement Acts between Lecturers And Students

Authors: Jeffrey Siphiwe Mkhize


Twelve years of schooling for most South African children, particularly those children from disadvantaged past, are confronted with numerous and diverse challenges. These challenges range from infrastructural limitations, language of teaching, poor resources and varying family backgrounds. Likewise, schools are categorized to signify schools’ geographic location, poverty lines, societal class and type of students that the school are likely to enroll. Such categorization perpetuates particular lines of identities that are indirectly reinforced by the same system that seeks to redress. South African universities prefer point systems to determine students’ suitability to gain access to their programmes. Once students are admitted based on the qualifying points there is an assumed equity in the manner in which they receive tuition. They are assumed as equal; noting the widened access to South African universities as means to redress past inequalities. Given the challenges, inequalities, it is necessary to view higher education as a site for knowledge construction that is accessible to all students. Epistemological access is key to all students irrespective of their socio-economic status. This paper seeks to contribute to the discourse of student engagement using lecturer-student relationship as a lens to understand this phenomenon. Data were generated using South African Survey of Student Engagement, focus group interviews, semi-structured one-on-one-interviews as well as document analysis. The focus was on students registered for the first year of a Bachelor of Education degree as well as lecturers that teach high risk modules in this qualification at the same level. The findings suggest that lecturers are challenged by overcrowded classrooms and over-enrolled modules; this challenge hampers their good intentions to become more efficient and innovative in their teaching. Students lack confidence in approaching lecturers for assistance. Collaborative learning has stronger results and students believe in self-support to deal with their challenges based on their individual strengths. Collaborative learning is key to student academic performance.

Keywords: Collaborative Learning, Student Engagement, Student Performance, consultations

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4 Teachers' Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge and Technology Integration in Teaching and Learning in a Small Island Developing State: A Concept Paper

Authors: Aminath Waseela, Vinesh Chandra, Shaun Nykvist


The success of technology integration initiatives hinges on the knowledge and skills of teachers to effectively integrate technology in classroom teaching. Consequently, gaining an understanding of teachers' technology knowledge and its integration can provide useful insights on strategies that can be adopted to enhance teaching and learning, especially in developing country contexts where research is scant. This paper extends existing knowledge on teachers' use of technology by developing a conceptual framework that recognises how three key types of knowledge; content, pedagogy, technology, and their integration are at the crux of teachers' technology use while at the same time is amenable to empirical studies. Although the aforementioned knowledge is important for effective use of technology that can result in enhanced student engagement, literature on how this knowledge leads to effective technology use and enhanced student engagement is limited. Thus, this theoretical paper proposes a framework to explore teachers' knowledge through the lens of the Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK); the integration of technology in classroom teaching through the Substitution Augmentation Modification and Redefinition (SAMR) model and how this affects students' learning through the Bloom's Digital Taxonomy (BDT) lens. Studies using this framework could inform the design of professional development to support teachers to develop skills for effective use of available technology that can enhance student learning engagement.

Keywords: Information and Communication Technology, ICT, Student Engagement, Technology Integration, in-service training, SIDS, TPACK, small island developing states, technology professional development training, technological pedagogical and content knowledge

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3 Exploring the Potential of Chatbots in Higher Education: A Preliminary Study

Authors: Sylvie Studente, Stephen Ellis, Filia Garivaldis


We report upon a study introducing a chatbot to develop learning communities at a London University, with a large international student base. The focus of the chatbot was twofold; to ease the transition for students into their first year of university study and to increase study engagement. Four learning communities were created using the chatbot; level 3 foundation, level 4 undergraduate, level 6 undergraduate, and level 7 post-graduate. Students and programme leaders were provided with access to the chatbot via mobile app prior to their study induction and throughout the autumn term of 2019. At the end of the term, data was collected via questionnaires and focus groups with students and teaching staff to allow for the identification of benefits and challenges. Findings indicated a positive correlation between study engagement and engagement with peers. Students reported that the chatbot enabled them to obtain support and connect to their programme leader. Both staff and students also made a recommendation on how engagement could be further enhanced using the bot in terms of; clearly specified purpose, integration with existing university systems, leading by example and connectivity. Extending upon these recommendations, a second pilot study is planned for September 2020, for which the focus will be upon improving attendance rates, student satisfaction, and module pass rates.

Keywords: e-Learning, Student Engagement, learning communities, chatbot

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2 Improving Student Engagement in Higher Education through Data Mining and Automated Social Networking Communications in Virtual Learning Environments

Authors: David Cobham, Kevin Jacques, Stephen Smith


Virtual learning environments (VLEs) form part of modern pedagogy in education; they contain student usage data that has the potential to inform and improve this pedagogy. The question this paper explores is how might the development of data mining and log analysis systems for the Moodle virtual learning environment improve students’ course engagement? The paper proposes that a student will complete missed tasks sooner if their utilisation of the VLE is automatically tracked, and electronic prompts are sent when VLE activities are missed. To exploring and test the hypothesis, a software tool, MooTwit, was developed to contact students when they fall behind in their VLE study. To establish if student timely engagement improved, the study used MootTwit with two groups of students over a period of 15 weeks, messaging one group only when they fell behind. Statistical analysis and comparisons were made between how quickly each group engaged with the missed items. Using MooTwit to track and contact students did influence the timeliness of their engagement with the VLE activities. Specifically, the results suggest by direct messaging a student to engage with missed material; they complete missed activities closer to the required completion date. The findings within the thesis show that educational data-mining has the potential to improve pedagogy in VLE linked education, offering opportunities to increase the effective engagement of students in a programme of study.

Keywords: Social Networks, Higher Education, Student Engagement, Virtual Learning Environments

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1 Branding and Posting Strategy on Facebook Pages of Higher Education Institutions in Ontario, Canada in 2019-2020: A Quantitative and Qualitative Investigation

Authors: Mai To


Higher education institutions (HEIs) in Ontario, Canada have invested in social media presence for multiple purposes, such as branding, student’ engagement, and recruitment. To have a full picture of the social media strategy implemented by HEIs in Ontario, Canada, this study used a mixed-method approach to analyze Facebook posts’ characteristics and content. A total of 1789 Facebook posts from September 2019 to April 2020 of six selected HEIs were collected for analysis and coding based on five pre-determined branding positions: Elite, Nurturing, Campus, Outcome, and Commodity. Besides, the study also calculated the engagement rate for each social media practice to measure its effectiveness. The results show that there were not many differences in practices such as posting frequency, length, types, and timing among HEIs. However, the distribution of branding positions and content targeting future students versus current students was varied, although the HEIs employed all five branding positions and targeted the same lists of audiences. Some practices such as evening post for colleges and nurturing branding for universities attracted significantly higher engagement. This study provides a review of current social media practices and branding strategy, as well as informs the practices that can better engage the audiences.

Keywords: Higher Education, Social Media, branding, Student Engagement, student recruitment

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