Friday, July 24, 2009

Improving Engagement

The engagement levels in my classes last semester were unusual. In Professional Accounting it was very high, in Contemporary Issues in Accounting PG it was reasonably high, and in Contemporary Issues in Accounting it was extremely low.

This semester I am going to try and incorporate techniques I used in Professional Accounting into Contemporary Issues in Accounting to try and increase the engagement level. I will be running a meet and greet exercise in the first tutorials. I have already done this in CIA PG this semester.

I will also be breaking the tutorials into small groups (5 per group) to address the tutorial question then present their solution to the class. I will give the students some OHP pens and transparencies on which to prepare their answers. I will be forcing the groups to be rainbow groups and I will be ensuring that all students do the presentation component at some point during the semester. Even though it is not being assessed, this engagement exercise will also help develop generic skills in teamwork, intercultural skills and oral communication.

I have decided not to include any online engagement components at this stage. I will review this decision later. The online engagement activity I would most like to incorporate from Professional Accounting is the reference database.

I have also not included any marks for engagement. While I may be forced to do this if the approaches I am using fail, I think it is a poor reflection on what I am doing if I need to resort to bribery to get the level of engagement I am seeking.

Some of my colleagues argue that providing material online is destroying engagement and that we should only provide materials in class to force engagement. IMHO, this is misguided. This policy forces attendance, not engagement.

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