How Can I Get Students to Engage with Course Content Before Class?

January 26, 2022

How Can I Get Students to Engage with Course Content Before Class? 

During this Midweek Mentor Dr. Sarah Lover and Dr. Tom Saleska from Concordia University Wisconsin, discussed the importance of engaging the students before they come to class to increase learning.  This is based on the concept of the brain and how the neurons work.  When neurons are fired, they create pathways.  “The more you use these pathways, the stronger the connections become. In other words, if the neurons fire together, they wire together. More efficient pathways, a stronger pathway. So, your memories, your behaviors, your thoughts, they’re all embedded in these learning pathways.” 

And so, before class, during class, and after class, you’ve got to really stimulate these new learning pathways. They shared a few ideas on how to do this. 

  • Teach students to how to read.  Tell them specifically what you want from them.  No distractions, no multi-tasking 
  • Tell them to pre-read material.  Have them spend 60 seconds- 3 mins looking at what they are going to read.  This primes the brain. 
  • Tell them to actually write in the textbooks (or if renting take notes) about what they need clarification on or definitions they need.  This helps the brain interact with the material. 
  • Use low-stakes assessments with small point values to assess what they know but gives them an incentive to complete the assignments. 
  • Partner quizzes- students are paired and take quiz together. It takes the pressure off but also allows students to discuss the material.  Also helps motivate them to want to be prepared so they don’t let their partner down. 
  • Reading guides and they are due at the beginning of class.  Points are assigned as 0- not done, 5- partially completed, 10-fullu completed. 

Learning is not a rapid process.  The more we can get the students to engage and use the material the more the pathways are wired together and learning increases. 

After viewing the video faculty discussed strategies, they use to increase student participation in the learning. What do you do to engage students in the learning process?

Categories: All Categories, Comma, Separated, Categories