February 11th, 2014

What Student Engagement Tools and Techniques Do You Use in Your Courses?


During the opening keynote at the 2011 Teaching Professor Conference, Elizabeth F. Barkley, a professor at Foothill College and author of Student Engagement Techniques: A Handbook for College Faculty (Jossey-Bass, 2010) presented on a topic titled “Terms of Engagement: Understanding and Promoting Student Engagement in Today’s College Classroom.”

At the conclusion of the session, she asked attendees to write on a note card one or two ways they promote active learning in their classrooms. Although that was nearly three years ago, the memory of hundreds of educators scribbling like mad to share their strategies remains etched in my memory. I was recently thinking about that experience and I wondered to myself if Faculty Focus readers would be willing to share some of their favorite ways of engaging students.

I decided you would, and encourage you to do so here. Please first answer the poll question, and then feel welcome to add to the comment box your tips for engaging students and promoting active learning.

Thanks for participating!

  • davidjterrell

    I am starting to use padlet.com for a posting wall. I will let you know later what happened.

    • Thanks, David! I'm not familiar with Padlet so I'd be interested in learning how it works for your and your students. No doubt our readers would, too.

      Mary Bart
      Editor, Faculty Focus

      • davidjterrell

        So far students have not responded to my request for posting on the wall. I'll let you know later on.

  • Carl

    I teach online in an asynchronous environment, so several of these techniques aren't applicable. However, we have forums for class discussion. One trick I've used in the forum is to have each student make up a problem based on the topic for the week, and then solve another student's problem (I teach math).

    I compare it to a game of musical chairs, except that there are enough chairs for all the participants. I've been getting great participation rates since I started doing it, but I've only been able to try it in my smaller advanced classes – I'd be interested to see if it would work in the larger, lower level courses.