engagement

Motivating and Engaging Today’s College Students: Insights from Phi Theta Kappa’s NerdNation

There has been a lot of negative press about the state of higher education in the United States—students not prepared for the very jobs they thought they were learning about, students not attaining enough practical experience before they graduate, tuition and course-material costs skyrocketing, and the student loans they have to repay. So why are people enrolling at all? And once they are in college, what keeps them going to completion?

As a global education company, Cengage Learning wants to get to know college students better. The below white paper encapsulates what we discovered from 116 students we interviewed at NerdNation in spring 2014, in Orlando, Florida. In addition to this, just last week Cengage Learning met with more than 50 students at North Idaho College, as well as members from the NW chapter of Phi Theta Kappa to continue the conversation on student success.

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Do Students “Own” Their Level of Classroom Participation?

To you, the instructor, classroom participation is a signal that students are engaged with you and your course. It also demonstrates that they’re eager to learn and contribute to the conversations you’re having around course concepts. Whether they’re asking and answering questions, collaborating in groups and teams, contributing on discussion boards, or sharing what they’ve observed, their participation shows the active role they’re taking in the learning process.

Obviously, the work you do as the instructor plays a vital role in creating a lively, collaborative environment in which students can learn. But, do students recognize and acknowledge the role that they play as individuals in keeping a class session active and engaging?

When we recently conducted our Student Engagement Insights survey, we asked students if they believed that they were primarily responsible for their own level of participation in class. Over four thousand students answered the question. Here’s how they responded:

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iLrn Engages Students Inside and Outside of Cecilia Marrugo-Puello’s Spanish Grammar Class

Cecilia Marrugo-Puello is an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Tarleton State University, a part of the Texas A&M system of schools. She uses iLrn in her Advanced
Composition and Grammar course, which is an upper-intermediate Spanish course required for every Spanish major and minor at Tarleton State.

Cecilia believes that iLrn is extremely effective at reaching different language learning styles, and also believes that iLrn is highly effective at reinforcing concepts when students are working outside of class. iLrn also helps her reach two very distinct student populations in her classroom: native and non-native Spanish speakers.

As a result of using iLrn in her course, Cecilia has seen the following results and benefits:
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Flipped Classroom 101: Reasons to Flip Your Course

As an instructor, you want to make the most of students’ time in your classroom. Rather than spend your time on basic questions, you want students to engage with activities and discussions that accomplish your higher-level learning goals. What’s more, you want your students to come to the classroom prepared, ready to contribute, and willing to collaborate. How can you promote this kind of environment in your classroom? With the flipped-classroom model, you can use your experience and expertise, in combination with blended-learning techniques, to create an active classroom environment filled with learners ready to discuss, debate, and offer Read More…


Seven Reasons the Flipped Classroom Matters

Guest Contributors: Marc Alan Sperber, MS and Craig Dane Roberts, PhD, both of Duke University. Evidence supports that active learning environments help to improve student’s grades and reduce the number of failing students. Further evidence supports that certain flipped classroom models can enable students to reach the highest levels of learning as they actively and collaboratively focus on solving complex real-world problems during class sessions. Marc Sperber and Craig Roberts work with faculty at Duke University and beyond to help them employ an approach to the flipped classroom that provides instructors with a framework for achieving the Seven Principles Read More…


Three Keys to Getting Top Results on Students’ Assignments

At Cengage Learning, we recently surveyed thousands of college students and instructors about the practices that best engage students. We gained some helpful insights, particularly when it came to what gets students interested in their assignments. Instructors revealed what makes their class do the best on their assignments and students explained what makes their assignments most interesting. Read More…


Three Steps to Creating an Engaging Classroom Discussion

Cengage Learning recently surveyed thousands of college students and instructors about what engages them most in the classroom. We discovered some enlightening trends when it came to what gets students interested in classroom discussion, not just with the instructor, but with their classmates as well. We asked instructors what makes their class discussions most engaging and asked students what makes their discussions most interesting. Read More…


What Sparks Student Engagement? Insights

What sparks student engagement in a course? Is engagement the sole responsibility of the instructor, hinging on his or her ability to communicate with energy, enthusiasm, and authority? Are students most inspired and engaged by the mix of activities and assignments? What role does students’ ability to relate to the course content play?

In a recent survey, we asked students: “What gets you most excited about a course?” We also asked instructors to share their insights and opinions. We received responses from more than four thousand students and 750 instructors. Below, we share the results, as well as our reflections on them.  Read More…


Smart Teaching Strategies from Cengage Learning’s TeamUP

At the Engaging Minds blog, we’re always on the lookout for insights and strategies that will help you increase student engagement in your classroom. In the webinar “Welcome to the Best Year Ever!: Teaching Secrets That’ll Make Students Say “Wow!,” Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins and Robert Onorato, both Senior Professional Educators with Cengage Learning’s TeamUP, describe a number of teaching strategies that you can apply in your classroom, from the first day through the final meeting. Watch the recording, and you’ll find a wealth of ideas and information that will inspire you and engage your students. We’re sharing just a few of our Read More…


Are College Students Interested in Their Courses?

This summer, Cengage Learning surveyed instructors and students about their thoughts on engagement and motivation. We also sought their insights on a variety of other topics, such as critical thinking, online learning, and college success. We received responses from hundreds of instructors and thousands of students around the United States, and we were intrigued, surprised, and delighted by what they had to say. Over the next few months, we’ll be sharing these insights with you.

To begin, we wanted to gauge students’ overall level of engagement in their classes. We asked: In general, do you find your courses interesting? To examine the question from another perspective, we asked instructors if they believed students found their courses engaging. The results may surprise you!

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