1st Edition

Keeping Us Engaged Student Perspectives (and Research-Based Strategies) on What Works and Why

    168 Pages
    by Routledge

    168 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers faculty practical strategies to engage students that are research-grounded and endorsed by students themselves. Through student stories, a signature feature of this book, readers will discover why professor actions result in changed attitudes, stronger connections to others and the course material, and increased learning.Structured to cover the key moments and opportunities to increase student engagement, Christine Harrington covers the all-important first day of class where first impressions can determine students’ attitudes for the duration of the course, through to insights for rethinking assignments and enlivening teaching strategies, to ways of providing feedback that build students’ confidence and spur them to greater immersion in their studies, providing the underlying rationale for the strategies she presents. The student narratives not only validate these practices, offering their perspectives as learners, but constitute a trove of ideas and practices that readers will be inspired to adapt for their particular needs.Conscious of the changing demographics of today’s undergraduate and graduate students – racially more diverse, older, and many employed – Harrington highlights the need to engage all students and shares numerous strategies on how to do so. While many of the ideas presented were used by faculty teaching face to face classes, a number were developed by faculty teaching online, and the majority can be adapted to virtually any teaching environment. Based on student-centered active learning principles, structured to allow readers to quickly identify practices that they may need in particular instances or to infuse in a course as a whole, and presented without jargon, this book is a springboard for all faculty looking for ideas that will engage their students at any level and in any course.

    ForewordAcknowledgmentsIntroduction ONE. STARTING POSITVE. THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS AND THE SYLLABUS 1. Engaging Students on the First Day of Class 2. Creating a Sense of Belonging 3. Generating Excitement 4. Developing Knowledge and Skills 5. Using the Syllabus as an Engagement Tool 6. Faculty Reflection Questions TWO. POWER OF RELATIONSHIPS 7. Connecting With Students During Class 8. Interacting With Students Outside of Class 9. Assisting Students Struggling With Personal Challenges 10. Serving as Career Mentors 11. Helping Students Build a Professional Network 12. Faculty Reflection Questions THREE. TEACHING STRATEGIES 13. Making It Personal 14. Using Demonstrations 15. Using Collaborative Activities 16. Faculty Reflection Questions FOUR. MEANINGFUL ASSIGNMENTS 17. Building Foundational Knowledge 18. Using Authentic Assignments to Promote Learning 19. Pushing Students Outside their Comfort Zone 20. Fostering Creativity 21. Service-Learning 22. Faculty Reflection Questions FIVE. FEEDBACK 23. Formative Assessment Opportunities 24. Incorporating Peer Feedback Opportunities 25. Giving Students Opportunities to Revise 26. Providing Feedback to High-Achieving Students 27. Faculty Reflection Questions ReferencesAbout the AuthorIndex


    Dr. Christine Harrington is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at New Jersey City University. She co-coordinates a newly established Ed.D. in Community College Leadership program. Prior to this position, she worked at Middlesex County College for 18 years as a Professor of Psychology and Student Success, the Director of the Center for the Enrichment of Learning and Teaching, Coordinator of Student Success and a Counselor. She also served a 2-year term as the Executive Director of the Center for Student Success at the NJ Council of County Colleges. Dr. Harrington is frequently invited to present at conferences and at colleges and universities. José Antonio Bowen

    "Student voices matter to shape an educational experience that best supports student learning. Dr. Harrington's book is rich in the theory of what makes for an excellent classroom environment. But what distinguishes the book is the detailed stories told by students that illustrate, so compellingly, the value of engagement. Students describe how faculty have created learning environments that help them navigate the messiness of education in ways that are not only supported by what we know about how students learn, but also by the phenomenological experience of so many students from so many different backgrounds. This book is a terrific read for anyone who cares about students and their effective learning in higher education."

    Chris Hakala, Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship / Professor of Psychology

    Springfield College

    “Keeping Us Engaged is beneficial for both novice and seasoned educators. It includes foundational strategies that characterize what it means to an effective educator. The student narratives provide perspectives that reinforce the strategies and clearly translate the practices from theory to impact. The guiding questions at the end of each chapter encourage reflection that hopefully will lead to improved student outcomes. This book should be included in all teacher education programs.”

    Tia Brown McNair, Ed.D., Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success and Executive Director for the TRHT Campus Centers, Association of American Colleges & Universities

    "We know now that engagement, motivation and trust are prerequisites for learning and here, at last, is a guide for what really matters to students. Here is the texture, detail and nuance to the broad picture we have gained from pedagogical research. It is especially useful to hear about the unanticipated benefits from things we do. Most faculty, for example, can see the value of an icebreaker to share something on the syllabus that interests you (page 16), but I, at least, did not anticipate that students would also find this a good way to acknowledge their fears and feel more connected. If we really want to put students first, these stories are transformative.

    Our guide is the sensitive, prolific and clear-eyed Professor Christine Harrington. Her many books, research, good advice and deep caring for students proceed her. Her work has always been both scholarly and practical, and this is another book full of insight that is immediately applicable. Still, you will be astonished at how many simple things you can do tomorrow. Rarely have I read a book where on almost every page I said (usually in sequence), 'a ha,' 'now I get it,' and finally, 'I must do that'."

    José Bowen, President,

    Bowen Innovation Group L.L.C.

    “This comprehensive collection of engagement strategies uniquely makes transparent the essential partnership between learning and engagement. Throughout, the reader travels beyond techniques to recognize the multi-faceted constellation of course design components as thresholds into effective engagement. Each chapter grounds strategies with rationales, current literature, and provocative reflection questions for the instructor. Teaching confidence expands as knowing why and how engagement works and its essential role in learning are authentically narrated as students uniquely teach us.”

    Connie Schroeder, Senior Consultant for Instructional and Organizational Development, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

    "Many faculty – particularly those who teach introductory courses – will find this book useful in that it is an easy read that provides numerous useful and practical examples. Instead of dedicating an hour to a workshop that might provide a small number of practical tips and tricks, Harrington’s book can be skimmed in that same amount of time and provide much more value.

    Most importantly, the entirety of the book speaks to the need to link faculty development purposefully and intentionally to student success. Early in the text, Harrington states the most overt premise of the book - “student engagement matters” – a fact that many working in higher education believe. That said, not many efforts intentionally link faculty development to student success, and this is where Harrington’s book excels. A common criticism of student success efforts is that the unintended (or intended) consequence of these efforts is a reduction of rigor. Harrington’s book refutes that criticism using concrete examples of in class and out of class activities and efforts that make a difference in the lives of students without losing the rigor of a course.

    The applicability of this text goes beyond faculty and coursework. For example, the section on relationship building has much to offer peer leader programs about how to set a welcoming environment for their students. Similarly, the book’s information on the importance of starting positive would offer tutoring and supplemental instruction programs valuable insight in setting a context in which students will seek their help.

    Ultimately, the pairing of student stories with pedagogical approaches focused on offsetting students’ perceived limitations and challenges sets this book apart from others on teaching. Between the faculty reflection questions at the end of each chapter and the spot-on testimonials from students on what really works, this book is a mustread for any educator who is seeking to make a difference in student success."

    E-Source for College Transitions, Volume 18, No. 3

    "I just finished reading 'Keeping Us Engaged' and I absolutely loved it! The layout of the book is what intrigued me initially as I saw you had written with specific research-based areas and then supported those areas with student examples. I found many of your techniques that affirmed what I am already doing and also challenged me as an instructor. I have often wondered if what I think is engaging is truly engaging to my students and this book was perfect to help me answer that question. The area that I want to improve on is feedback. I feel like I do a good job with written feedback, but I need to do a better job of explaining my feedback so students actually use it. Your book provided me with great strategies to work on this semester.

    My goal this summer is to look at the course evaluation tool used in our program and find strategies in your book to help our instructors improve in each of the evaluated areas. I believe the examples and research you provide will both affirm and challenge my professors in the same way it did for me."

    Melinda Rangel, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Tabor College