For higher education professionals, it is important to host student engagement events to help students stay motivated in their university work and engaged with their fellow classmates. Moreover, these events also help students discover extracurricular interests, develop social skills, and help them feel less isolated in a world where they are expected to become increasingly more independent.
Many student engagement events center around the values of societal commitment, diversity, solidarity, social justice, or the environment. These activities can be voluntary, civic-oriented, or mandatory as part of their academic life. Some examples include volunteering within an association, military engagement in the operational reserve, serving with civic forces such as firefighters, etc.
Of course, you can also host student engagement events centered around sports, festivals, workshops, etc. The goal is to engage students and offer them interesting, fun things to do that can help them grow into healthy, well-rounded individuals.
Why Choose Student Engagement?
Student engagement events help students develop social and interpersonal skills, and explore social causes and issues they may be passionate about. By volunteering with local organizations and getting involved with civic and communal causes, they get a chance to explore activities and interests outside of their everyday university life.
Often, students participate in engagement events for the following reasons:
- To be useful, to satisfy a desire or a personal project.
- To acquire and develop skills/knowledge that can be valued in professional life.
- Because it is very enriching on a professional and human level, and helps develop their interpersonal skills.
The Reason for Student Engagement Events
The engagement of students in the classroom and their studies is, on the one hand, explained by the quality of the relationship they have with their teachers and, on the other hand, explained by the perception that they are of value to the course or program in which they are enrolled.
Students indicate that they are motivated at the start of their studies (1st cycle), but the more they advance in their studies, the less motivated they feel. This is likely due to poor relationships with teachers, lack of interest in their coursework, or simply burnout from studying long hours without any outside interests.
For higher education professionals, keeping students engaged in their university and academic life is of paramount importance. One counter-intuitive solution is to host student engagement events so students can feel like they are part of something greater, and are invested in the success of something other than their academic life. This will conversely keep them engaged in their university life, and by extension their academic life as well.
Events on Campus
Several different events are accessible to students and to all interested parties – perfect to broaden their horizons or to make them discover the campus from a different perspective together with their fellow students.
It is important to the schools to bring all members of the university together outside of the classroom and to make what is happening at the university visible to the public. At the university sports festival, for example, the students can get to know what the TU sports center has to offer. In addition, students can broaden their horizons with lecture series, listen to the sounds of the orchestra or the university choir during musical performances, engage in discussions with experts from various departments, and much more. Some of the student engagement events categories are:
- concert, theater
- laboratory, experiments
- online course
- further education
There are also different subjects for all of these event categories:
- General and interdisciplinary
- architecture, civil engineering, environmental sciences
- Chemistry, pharmacy, life sciences, psychology
- Electrical engineering, information technology, physics
- Humanities and education
- Mechanical engineering
- Mathematics, computer science, economics, social sciences, etc.
What Are the Student Engagement Strategies?
Student engagement is essential and has multiple benefits. It contributes to students’ dynamics and their learning while working on the development of the person helping them overcome shyness with classmates, for example. Next, we suggest you explore some ideas that schools can incorporate into their classes and thus promote the active participation of students.
Use student opinions
Polls are powerful because they connect their topic to the center of any young person’s universe.
Letting students contribute their opinion to something, and seeing how their opinion fits within the surrounding system, can do wonders for students’ attention.
Giving them a participatory voice in their lesson has numerous benefits, but none other than letting students know that their opinion, not your topic, is the real star of the show here.
Get students talking
There is a student engagement strategy that is more comprehensive than a survey. A full-blown discussion.
Getting students to express their own nuanced opinions in an eloquent and measured way is one of the main strategies to improve engagement. Sadly, in the classroom, this dream occupies the finest of lines between no one speaking and utter chaos.
Many educational technology tools encourage written responses to open-ended questions, helping everyone make their voices heard and keeping things completely tidy.
Race competition with a quiz
Unfortunately, aside from a whimsical and ultimately pointless stellar reward system, competition as a student engagement strategy is still heavily underutilized.
What is one of the most attractive types of competition that we often participate in as adults? It’s a live test. A proper quiz with a leaderboard, fun, drama, and a very engaged group of participants.
Whether alone or as a team, the flood of students competing against their peers can be a whirlwind of engagement. If the stakes are high (that is, the prize is good), quizzes can be one of the most effective student engagement techniques on this list.
Here are some tips for creating a great educational quiz:
- Keep it to around 10 questions – Let your students get involved, but don’t let them get tired.
- Mix up the difficulty – Keep everyone on their toes.
- Using technology – Paper and pencil tests are difficult to handle with a large class. Try running the questionnaire in professional software.
Question and answer checkpoints
One of the biggest contributors to disconnection has nothing to do with behavior, it has to do with understanding. Regardless of the quality of the course material, if students don’t understand it, you will be looking into a room of checked-out faces.
Sure, you can ask them if they understand your explanation of a new concept, but how many typically self-aware students are going to admit, in front of everyone, that they are not following it?
In the age of educational technology, the answer is Question and Answer Checkpoints. Here’s why they work:
- They are anonymous – Students can remain anonymous and ask anything without fear.
- They are detailed – Students have time to carefully state what they do not understand.
- They are organized – All responses are written, can be classified into different categories, and remain permanent.
Types of Student Activities
Student activities are of different categories. Some activities are purely recreational, some are academic, civic, cultural, leisure, and spiritual.
Some types of engagement groups are:
- Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society
- International Justice Mission
- Surfing clubs
- Acapella/singing groups
- Feminist Club
- Acting clubs
- Intramural Sports teams
- Cooking clubs
- National Society of Collegiate Scholars
- Alpha Kappa Delta
- Fan clubs
- Black Student Union
- LGBT Alliance
- Phi Beta Kappa
- Disability Alliance
- Club sports
- Accounting Society
- Pre-Law Society
- Colleges Against Cancer
- Art History Club
- Circle K International
- Political Party-Based Clubs
- Action in Africa
- Language Clubs
- Asian Pacific Student Association
- Public Relations Student Society
- Lions Club School Chapters
Motivation is the desire to achieve and is based on what is specific, valuable, achievable, rewarding, and time-sensitive. Student engagement is a deep and effective interest and passion for a learning experience, which comes from motivation, sensory stimulation, and emotional connection. When these are present, students are more likely to become effective participants in the learning process.