Research has demonstrated that engaging students in the learning process increases their attention and focus and motivates them to engage in higher-level critical thinking. Instructors who adopt a student-centered approach to instruction increase opportunities for student engagement, which then helps everyone more successfully achieve the course’s learning objectives.
Promoting student engagement through active learning
Active learning is an instructional approach in which students actively participate in the learning process, as opposed to sitting quietly and listening. Strategies include, but are not limited to, question-and-answer sessions, discussion, interactive lecture (in which students respond to or ask questions), quick writing assignments, hands-on activities, and experiential learning. As you think of integrating active learning strategies into your course, consider ways to set clear expectations, design effective evaluation strategies, and provide helpful feedback.
Flipping the classroom
A pedagogy-first approach to teaching in which in-class time is re-purposed for inquiry, application and assessment in order to better meet the needs of the individual learners.
Leading dynamic discussions
While “good” discussions can be a powerful tool for encouraging student learning, successful discussions rarely happen spontaneously. Preparing ahead of time will help you delineate a clear focus for the discussion and set well-defined parameters. This will enable the class to address important topics from multiple perspectives, thus increasing students’ curiosity for, and engagement with, course content.
Responding to disruptions in the classroom
Passionate disagreement can become disrespectful. That’s when discussion sheds more heat than light, impairing the ability to make arguments based on fact or to listen past preconceptions.
As an instructor, you might work with student writing in a number of ways: short-answer exams, essays, journals, blog posts, research assignments and so on. You may also take your students through the writing process by assigning drafts, encouraging peer response through structured or informal exercises, and using writing to facilitate active learning.
Large lecture instruction
Large classes (100+ students) should not be limited exclusively to lecture-based teaching. In a large class, participation can be designed to get students actively solving problems, interacting with one another and the instructor, and processing course material.
Office hours give students the opportunity to ask in-depth questions and to explore points of confusion or interest that cannot be fully addressed in class. It is important for UW instructors to encourage their students to come to office hours and to use that time effectively. We have two guides to help you: Face-to-face office hours and Virtual office hours.
Service-learning refers to learning that actively involves students in a wide range of experiences, which often benefit others and the community, while also advancing the goals of a given curriculum.