Student Engagement Challenge 4

Dear Faculty,

Wow. Can you believe it is the final week of the Student Engagement Challenge – and Spring Break is next week!? Kudos to you for all the care and compassion you show in serving your students. I hope you can find some time to serve yourself and get some rest over this break. 

The third and final pillar for building a strong foundation for student engagement is all about encouraging students to pursue their goals. One of my favorite encouragement quotes comes from John Maxwell. He says, “You should never forget that everyone needs encouragement. And everyone who receives it – young or old, successful or less-than-successful, unknown or famous is changed by it.” Inspired by this quote, I have an engagement challenge assignment AND A BONUS template you can use for an essential practice you should be trying in your classes around now. 

Challenge 4: Pillar 3 – Applying Content to Student Goals – Time: 5-10 min to assign

As an activity, this challenge works well for asynchronous and synchronous classes – this one is a great discussion board or live discussion topic. 

  • Prompt: Challenge students to take something they have learned in your class and discuss how it applies to their future career goals. 

This prompt gets students to think about what they have learned and find relevance to their future goals. It can also help them identify transferable skills and see value in the content they might not have before. Having the opportunity to discuss with peers gives them the chance to encourage each other and see your course content through different lenses. 

Now as a BONUS, I have YOUR HARDEST CHALLENGE YET!  

BONUS Challenge: Feedback – Course Feedback Survey – send THIS SURVEY to your students. (Be sure to edit it to the specifics of your class before you send it)

Asynchronous Version – You will need to edit the first couple of questions about meetings, but otherwise, the survey will work just fine for you.

Introduce it by saying something like this: “I am sharing a course feedback survey with you, and I would appreciate it so much if you were to take a few minutes and fill it out earnestly. I work hard to make this course as great as possible. Your input helps more than almost anything else. The survey is anonymous, and I will read every entry. I ask that you are honest but also constructive. Statements like “You’re the WORST TEACHER EVER!!” tell me nothing. WHY am I the worst teacher ever? THAT helps me improve. Be sure to highlight positive and negative aspects of the course.”  – I like adding a dramatic statement like that. It cuts the tension and gets a few laughs. If it’s not your thing, go ahead and cut it. 

Knowing what is working and isn’t working in your class is CRITICAL to running a successful and engaging course. An ANONYMOUS course feedback survey can:

  • Allow students to voice opinions
  • Let them feel they influence the course – especially if they see you implement their feedback.
  • Highlight the useful parts of your course, alongside the ones that aren’t working.
  • Take a bit of work off your shoulders in discovering how to improve your course. Students are smart! They want to enjoy the class and succeed, and they will have great ideas on how to make that happen.
  • Facilitate a better understanding of students. Students will often share personal information that they may not otherwise. 

I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH for being a part of this challenge. You worked hard to increase engagement in your classes, and you should feel exceptionally proud of that. 

Stay tuned to the FDEV Podcast on March 25th, where Dr. Jamie Gunderson and the FDEV faculty fellows will recap and reflect on the challenge. If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for the Friday Forum discussion of this engagement challenge on March 26th (10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.).

A Final Cheers,

Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Fellow
Kinesiology Lecturer

Student Engagement Challenge 2

Welcome back to Week 2 of the 4-week FDEV Student Engagement Challenge!

So, how did the first challenge go? Did using names more granularly feel a bit weird or out of your comfort zone? If so, good. Keep doing it! It will feel more natural, and your students will feel connected, which leads to engagement.

This week we are doubling-down on that first pillar of engagement – because it is just that important. Below you will find two planned activities designed to help you and your students connect even more. 

We encourage you to choose one to implement this week and see how it goes. Take 5-10 minutes to plan these out to ensure they go well. However, we need to encourage students to engage by letting them do it safely. This means no points attached and anonymity. 

Challenge 2: Pillar 1 (care about students as people)

OPTION 1 – The Two Word Check-In 

Synchronous – Ask your students: “I would like everyone to describe how they are feeling today in just two words.”

  • I encourage this to be an anonymous response and not have any point value attached.
  • Remember, we are playing the long game here. These strategies and tactics may boost engagement a bit at first, but HOW YOU RESPOND is critical to promoting FUTURE engagement. Students see you respond to others with kindness, care, and value, and then they will decide to engage as well. 
  • Students need to know engaging is SAFE and VALUABLE – Your actions prove this.
  • Share your own, too – Be sure the class response is visible to everyone. You can do this by using: 
  • A Poll-Everywhere Word Cloud: https://www.polleverywhere.com/word-cloud
  • Google Doc / Jamboard
  • Your Response: Respond & Empathize – Let students know you hear them, and recognize their feelings. Empathize and encourage or affirm.

Asynchronous: Two Word Check-In & Response Use this Google Slides Template.

  • Create a copy and add enough slides so that each student has their own.
  • Be sure to change the “Share” settings to “Anyone with link can edit”
  • To ensure anonymity, encourage students to log out of Google before they edit
  • Each student will put their two words in the title box
  • Each student will then spend a few minutes anonymously offering encouragement and thoughtful responses to classmates’ two words in the text box on the slide.
  • If you notice any slides not getting responses, give some encouragement there yourself.

Challenge 2: Pillar 1 (care about students as people)

OPTION 2 – The  Entry Ticket 

Works for synchronous or asynchronous classes – Entry Ticket Template

  • Create a copy of the Entry Ticket Google Form above. Edit as you see fit.
  • At the start of class, share the link to the form and ask students to fill it out, letting them know you hope to quickly get a sense of where everyone is today, both personally and academically. 

The key to the entry ticket is to view class results as a whole and discuss them afterward. You can screen share the results as you discuss (just be sure to skip the section where they put their names). 

One of Entry Tickets’ great things is that it allows students to ask CONTENT and ADMINISTRATIVE questions safely. You can devote some time in the class to answer them, as they are directly relevant to the course. I encourage you to try it out more than once.  

Asynchronous Version: Do a weekly check-in ticket. Use the template above, but make some edits to apply to a week rather than asynchronous classes. 

Take it up a notch: Add a specific question you want to ask your students before sharing the form with them. Making it personal to you and what you care about improves authenticity.

I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Cheers,

Dustin Bakkie
FDEV Faculty Fellow
Lecturer, Kinesiology