The following is a summary of the discussions from the Student Engagement brainstorming by CUPE Tutors and Academic Experts at the AGM on October 28. The ideas are included here for your consideration in engaging your students.
1. Getting to know your student
Discussion Question: What introductory questions or information help you learn about your students?
a. Questions to ask students:
What brings you to this course at this time?
What is your expected timeline for finishing?
Is there anything I should know about you to help you succeed? – this question than may be helpful to understand student’s diversity
Understand student’s work experience
b. Considerations for approach w/ a student:
Student’s academic purpose may vary w/ academic level
A new student may need time to learn how to be a student
An open invitation for students to introduce themselves while recognizing some students won’t
Consider introducing yourself and your experience (in some situations personal information may not be necessary or appropriate to reveal)
Include a telephone quiz as course begins
2 months prior to end of contract, contact student
Considering checking student’s Facebook profile
Offer encouragement at the halfway mark
Include your expectations for teaching, learning and ground rules. Rubric is useful
c. Email, Moodle, Telephone or Student Success Centre:
Use email or Moodle to send an introduction in addition to university introduction.
Email is better to use for introductions than SSC
Always good to have a one-on-one conversation or connection, but some students may view phone calls as annoying
Understanding student’s preferences for contact. E.g. don’t want AE/tutors ‘bugging them’
Discussion Question: How do you meet the challenges of communicating with students from different cultures or have large age differences than you or who have a humanity (science) orientation for their science (humanity) courses?
see above “Questions to ask students”
Ask student to share any concerns they have to completing coursework.If it’s ‘too much’ for student because ESL (or English Language Learner ELL), hearing impaired or other concern, suggest connecting with a counselor.
Communicate in writing to support verbal conversations
Incorporate preferences and interests in different topics for papers
Names: pronounce correctly
Don’t assume last name indicates a student is a New Canadians
If early messages reflect writing concerns, suggest using SpellCheck, GrammarCheck and/or Write Site
Be aware of how course content is connected to various beliefs; offer open dialogue to explore diversity
Make room for various beliefs (i.e. mental health, demons)
Refocus on current literature and course outcomes through exploration (assumptions of course)
Students send draft [papers]
We already know students are diverse (different background, levels of learning) but not necessarily know the specifics
Diversity can include philosophical or personal values or mental wellness
Does it affect our objectivity if students are from a ‘diverse’ community?
Student has to volunteer their age
Does AU have English skill requirements?
With call centre model, student can’t contact tutor to share their background
student may not share disability at beginning of contract.
3. Potential conflict
Discussion Question:What are your strategies for providing student feedback when there is potential for emotional or negative feedback from the student?
Provide additional feedback
acknowledge effort and explain/offer reasons why e.g. low mark
reduce/avoid ‘you’. Instead 1) ‘this is what I read’ 2) ‘let’s think about this’ and/or 3) give an example
provide policy and process i.e. appeals
‘lawyer like’ conversation: factual if you perceive conflict
positive, supportive commentary
flag students, record contacts
Students from different disciplines may need more follow-up or clarification
have a clear rubric in place to have a context for marks, provides clarity
sending out example papers/quizzes so there’s a clear expectation
4. Tips for student success
Discussion Question: As an instructor, how do you define student success and how do you help your students achieve this success?
Important point: what do students define as success?
Survive challenges: recognize and offer alternative assignments, where appropriate (i.e. change topic of paper)
Reminder message re: end of contract
Encourage direct contact w/ tutors
work in a planning exercise for students
Limitations: Few evaluations are completed – with call centre model, comments are not personal