“Never tell me the odds”: why scaring students into engaging probably won’t work (without a bit of a tweak)

I am currently looking at our own institution’s approach to attendance/ engagement monitoring and then the associated follow up actions. One of the approaches I hear from frustrated colleagues and senior managers is that we just need to tell students about the association between attendance and success. Whether done by scaring them with the risk …

Continue reading “Never tell me the odds”: why scaring students into engaging probably won’t work (without a bit of a tweak)

Student Attendance: explaining the post-Covid Crisis

Possibly the biggest question in the sector right now is “Where the heck are the students?”. Attendance in classes appears to be down across the HE sector leading to some understandably frustrated tweets (here & here) and students aren’t necessarily replacing face-to-face learning with online activity. Attendance always falls over the course of the academic …

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Modelling how to ‘make students attend’

I'd argue that practically no students have perfect attendance. In the focus groups I wrote about in the last post, the students felt that they had good attendance, but it wasn't perfect. They didn't attend for a variety of reasons: because the sessions weren't perceived as interesting enough, they'd prioritising coursework, were ill etc. These …

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Student attendance/ engagement policies – why do we bother?

The 2021/22 academic year was a bit of a surprise for the sector. Students were effectively released from the pressures of lockdown and social distancing and ended up more anxious, more confused and certainly less engaged than at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. It may be that students were just catching up on two …

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Student Engagement Literature Review (2010)

<blogging as a filing cabinet> A bit like the hippy search for nirvana (you'll know it when you see it), the term 'student engagement' can be a little vague. I think this is because at times it becomes synonymous with 'student learning' or 'student experience'. I've described a broad definition of student engagement in the …

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A Typology of Student Engagement Activity

Students drop out from their courses for a variety of reasons. Early withdrawal is shaped by Socio-economic forces, students' personal goals/ mission for being at university, the lived experience of studying and sometimes just bad luck. We may not be able to precisely weight these factors, but they appear pretty consistently in studies. The sector …

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Millennials in the virtual church aisles – a thought for universities

A few years ago I was asked the question by the colleague "Is blockchain the future of higher education?" After quite a lot of reading and head scratching I reckoned the answer was "no". However, the question keeps coming back. I still think the answer's "no", only these days it's "***k no". The more I …

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Who traces the tracers? Algorithm Watch Report 2021

The book I’ve found most challenging and rewarding recently is ‘Irrationality’. First written in 1992, the book both identifies significant flaws in the human thinking process and advocates for a more standardised scientific approach. It’s a good case. However, nearly 30 years later, we are living through the lived realities of that way of thinking: …

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Slides from my keynote for the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning – 7th December 2021

Largely through the hard work and enthusiasm of Harald Åge Sæthre I know that colleagues in Norwegian universities have invested considerable time thinking about the issues of helping students cope with the transition into the first year. One outcome of this work is the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning (competence network for students' …

Continue reading Slides from my keynote for the Kompetansenettverk for Studenters Suksess I Høyere Utdanning – 7th December 2021