Why do some of our most exciting learning and teaching initiatives fail to gain traction, despite the thorough research, creative design and best efforts of talented people? It could be because we often forget to include the students in the planning process. This blog post by Sherman Young proposes that we acknowledge our students as partners and co-creators of their own learning in order to increase engagement.
To get the ball rolling we recruited four Merit Scholars, each from a very different discipline and background, and sent them on a social investigation to gather thoughts about student engagement at Macquarie. They came back with an enormous bank of ideas, examples, and challenges from students relating to their experience at Macquarie, and the following themes resonated throughout:
Availability. The very best learning experiences these students have had stem from a single teacher being available to their students, maintaining an approachable nature and adopting an accessible style of communication and discourse. The prevailing sentiment was that the availability of these teachers seemed driven by a genuine passion for learning and teaching.
Communication. The students unanimously agreed that the driest of subjects can be brought alive by a good lecturer, and it doesn’t have to involve cutting edge learning technologies or soaring levels of creativity. In fact, the students said that they would trade in all the extra stuff for a teacher with great presentation skills and a penchant for the material.
Connection to the outside world. This presented itself in a few different forms – students value industry connections, tangible job opportunities, and PACE units – but most simply, they value the sense that we’re learning with purpose here at Macquarie.
We will be exploring each of these themes, and others, at a panel discussion during L&T Week and will welcome questions and debate. We invite you to come along and gain some honest, candid insight into the student experience at Macquarie. Registrations are essential – more details are available using the link below.