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Higher Education Teaching: Tips for Better Student Engagement

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Every higher education teacher is faced with challenges at some point when it comes to student engagement. From large lecture halls to online courses, there are various ways to lose students’ attention. However, there are also many strategies that teachers can use to regain and keep their students engaged throughout the course. This article will cover several helpful tips for improving student engagement, as well as why higher education teachers should consider getting a higher education teaching certificate to further their careers.

Signs of a Lack of Student Engagement

First, let’s discuss some common signs that may indicate a lack of student engagement in your course. If you notice any of the following, it’s possible that your students are not as engaged as they could be:

  • Students seem bored or uninterested in class
  • Students are frequently absent
  • Students don’t participate in class discussion
  • Students turn in late assignments or don’t complete them at all
  • Grades are slipping

If you notice any of these signs, don’t despair! Next, we’ll talk about why higher education students might disengage and how to get them back on track.

Challenges With Student Engagement

There are many reasons students might lose interest in a higher education course.

1.    Distractions

With the advent of technology, it has become easier for students to be distracted during class. Whether it is through their phones or laptops, students can easily access social media or other websites that are not related to the course material. In turn, teachers need to find ways to limit distractions in the classroom.

2.    Lack of Interaction

In some cases, students might feel like they are not interacting enough with the material or the teacher. If a course is solely lecture-based, it can be easy for students to tune out. On the other hand, if a course is too discussion-based, some introverted students might feel overwhelmed and unable to participate. Finding a balance between lecture and discussion is key to keeping all students engaged.

3.    Boredom

In some cases, students might simply be bored with the material. This can happen if the material is not presented engagingly or if it is not relevant to the student’s interests. Therefore, higher education teachers need to ensure that the material is engaging and relevant to their students.

4.    Administrative

There are also times when student engagement is affected by administrative issues. For example, when a course is cancelled or rescheduled can disrupt students’ learning. In addition, if a teacher is absent, it can be difficult for the students to stay engaged with the material. Students might also be confused about the course requirements or the grading scale. As a result, teachers need to be as organized and clear as possible when it comes to administrative issues.

5.    Motivation

All teachers will face students who are not motivated to learn. This can be for various reasons, such as the student’s personal life or level of interest in the material. As a result, teachers need to find ways to motivate their students.

6.    Non-School Related Issues

Sometimes, a lack of student engagement comes down to factors that are outside of the school’s control. For example, a student might be working a part-time job or taking care of a family member. As a result, the student might not have enough time to dedicate to their studies. In addition, a student might be experiencing personal problems that are affecting their ability to focus on their studies.

Now that we know what the main challenges to student engagement are, let’s take a look at some strategies for addressing them.

Better Student Engagement in Higher Education

There are many different ways that higher education teachers can make their courses more engaging for students. Some of the most effective strategies include:

Make sure your lectures are interesting and interactive

Lectures should be engaging and cover material that is relevant to the course. Students should feel like they are learning something new and important when they attend a lecture.

Use technology in your lectures

Technology can be a powerful way to engage students in lectures. For example, using PowerPoint presentations, video clips, or even simulations can help keep students interested in what you’re saying. Just make sure not to lean too heavily on technology, as it can be easy for students to get distracted by it.

Encourage student participation

When students participate in discussions or activities, they are more likely to stay engaged in the material. Asking questions, calling on students randomly, and giving them opportunities to work in small groups can all help with student engagement.

Get to know your students

If you take the time to get to know your students, they will be more likely to feel comfortable coming to you with their questions or concerns. Getting to know your students can also help you identify any early signs of disengagement so that you can address them quickly. Something as simple as calling your students by name can make a big difference.

Consider getting a higher education teaching certificate

A higher education teaching certificate can give you the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful higher education teacher. With a certificate, you’ll be able to learn about best practices for teaching, assessment, and student engagement.

Making time for one-on-one interaction

This can be done during office hours, in class, or even outside of class. If students feel like they can come to you with questions or concerns, they will be more likely to stay engaged in the course.

Creating a supportive environment

It’s vital that students feel like they are in a safe and supportive environment. This entails respecting  different opinions and backgrounds and creating an inclusive classroom where everyone feels like they belong. To create this environment, focus on building relationships with your students and creating a positive classroom culture.

By following these tips, you can create a higher education teaching environment that is more engaging for your students. Remember, student engagement is important for ensuring students succeed in your course. When you take the time to create a more engaging classroom, you can help your students reach their full potential.

Brandon Foster is a multimedia reporter. He covers a variety of topics.

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