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Increasing Student Participation

Increasing Student Participation

3 July, 2016

Conditions motivating students to engage in learning

  • Students see importance in course material, learning outcomes, and activities that they can relate to their own lives.
  • The course objectives or learning outcomes align with students’ interests and goals (academic, career, and social).
  • Learning activities give chances to attain learning outcomes.
  • Evaluations are fair and assess what they intend to.
  • Students are given options.
  • Students experience the learning environment as supportive.
  • Students experience success in course activities and assignments.
  • Students know what to expect and what is expected of them.

The course instructor’s role in increasing student participation

Instructors have control over the learning environment, the course materials, teaching strategies, learning activities, and assessments. The way these are designed and aligned influence student motivation (Ambrose et. al. 2010) and deeper engagement in learning (Biggs, 2003).

Increasing student motivation to participate

  • Provide clear course objectives and learning outcomes and reinforce what students will gain from attaining them.
  • Create a positive classroom environment by learning about your students. Useicebreakers to build rapport with students, learn their names, and learn about what they are hoping to get out of the course and what preparation and background knowledge they have.
  • Try to align course activities to students’ goals. Explain these connections to students.
  • Inform how to be successful in the course both in the syllabus and repeatedly throughout the semester.
  • Give students regular feedback on their progress and help them learn how toevaluate their own work and progress.
  • Discuss the definition of participation and put it in the syllabus. What does it mean to participate in your course?
  • Let students know what is expected of them. Do students need to read material before class in order to discuss it? Are you taking attendance? If you are incorporating activities in class, how should students participate?
  • Stateground rules for participation and discussion.
  • Use variety in the way you structure your classroom or learning activities.
  • Integrateactive learning activities or change things up every 15-20 minutes to draw attention to issues and content you feel are most critical.
  • Set aside time before and after each activity to introduce it and define the takeaways.
  • When possible, providerubrics.
  • Offer options with assignments and assessments when possible. Let students choose how to present their knowledge or provide a range of topics from which students can explore.
  • Be aware of students’ confidence levels. Provide small chances for success early. Be constructive and encouraging when providing feedback.

Increasing student participation when classes are getting larger

  • Larger class sizes pose unique challenges, but it is possible to encourage students to participate in course activities.