Engaging in live class time can provide a lot of value to students and their learning. However, some instructors may notice that attendance in a course can flag or waiver at particular points in the semester. Consider re-invigorating engagement in your live class sessions with a few key tips:
Help students understand the importance of attendance. Be clear with your students about why their attendance can support their learning and success in the course. Make sure it’s clear that you understand that there are life circumstances that may prevent students from attending live class sessions while helping students appreciate what they will get out of live class sessions and what the value might be for their learning both within your class and beyond it.
Make class worth attending. Are there activities that engage students and assist them in learning something that cannot be done by simply reading the book or listening to a recorded lecture or getting a friend’s notes after class? If you are looking for ways to engage students in class consider the 2014 book "Collaborative Learning Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty, 2nd Edition" by Elizabeth F. Barkley, Claire H. Major, K. Patricia Cross. It has a wealth of activity ideas and learning environment options. Barkley’s 2010 book “Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty” is a worthwhile resource as well. In it activities are organized by the type of learning goal (i.e. knowledge, skills, recall, understanding, synthesis and creative thinking, etc.). If you do something in class that helps students learn more deeply and in a way that cannot be replicated outside of class, they will come!
Create in-class opportunities for supporting active student learning. Students may be motivated to attend class if they know they will have opportunities to check in on their understanding of the course content.While these kinds of activities take some time to implement, they provide the instructor with valuable information about student performance and understanding before getting to high-stakes exams. Consider activities like:
This is What I Know
Ask students to submit via a poll or a Google Form a one-sentence summary of what they already know about the lecture topic for the day. Address and acknowledge the range of ideas present and then connect to those ideas during the lecture.
Stump the Expert
As students enter the class, require them to turn in a 3x5 card with their name and a question on it. Randomly pull from the questions, ask where the student is seated so you can talk directly to them and answer questions for the first few minutes of class (answers can include the response “that will be covered in today’s lecture”). At the end of class, pull a few more questions to answer and wrap up by asking if there’s a question that remains unanswered.
During the last 5 minutes of class, give students a list of the main concepts discussed during the session and ask them to draw a picture connecting the concepts to one another with a sentence explaining why they are connecting them. This can be done on paper or in bCourses using the Whiteboard feature in Suite C.