Course 3, Week 2: Learning Design Practice

Moving on from the previous week on learning space, the second week pulls in the learning environment and connects this to student engagement. Student Engagement is very important to my current role as Student Information and Engagement Manager. I spend a great deal of my time creating new and innovative ways to engage our students in many areas of student life, from enrolment, to personal tutoring, to customer services. I want our students to feel part of a community and to be involved.


What is Student Engagement?

‘Learning begins with student engagement’ (Shulman 2005: 38).

Here are some of the most liked and interesting responses:

The course details that Student Engagement is…


Issues with engagement

Seven key issues facing the higher education sector in 2015 beyond, according to the Making the Grade 2015: The Key Issues Facing the Higher Education Sector:

Thinking about the above, I can see how these may affect student engagement. Especially as HE has moved away from a institutions for knowledge, moving into a business sector. As we begin to see our students as paying customers, and as the students begin to see themselves as customer, expectations will rise and competition for the best talent will increase.

Watching the short video on engagement by Ken Robinson, it really struck by home how perceptions can alter our lives to drastically. See my comment below:

Support in order to engage

‘The Carleton University guide Recognizing and supporting students in distress pinpoints steps in identifying and supporting students in need of support. These include:

  • recognise – look out for changes in behaviour, performance or appearance
  • respond – if students approach you be prepared to listen, acknowledge and reassure
  • refer – there are a wide range of support services available at Coventry University’


The course moves through information on how to support students with distress, as well as how to manage students that present aggressive behaviour. The aim is to then learn of support mechanisms to promote engagement. From my experience, here’s my view:

Student Feedback

‘Effective feedback assists students to engage with knowledge at a deeper level and provides students with the skills to monitor and sustain continuous learning’ (West and Turner 2016: 400).

Nicol’s 12 principles of good assessment and feedback:

  1. Help to clarify what good performance is (goals, criteria, standards)
  2. Encourage ‘time and effort’ on challenging learning tasks
  3. Deliver high-quality feedback information that helps learners
    to self-correct
  4. Provide opportunities to act on feedback (to close any gap between
    current and desired performance)
  5. Ensure that summative assessment has a positive impact on learning
  6. Encourage interaction and dialogue around learning (peer and
  7. Facilitate the development of self-assessment and reflection in learning
  8. Give choice in the topic, method, criteria, weighting or timing
    of assessments
  9. Involve students in decision-making about assessment policy and practice
  10. Support the development of learning groups and learning communities
  11. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem
  12. Provide information to teachers that can be used to help to shape
    their teaching

From watching the video on student feedback, it is clear how well appreciated feedback is, and the need for clear and useful feedback. Students need detailed feedback in order to learn from mistakes and progress across different assignments, not only a single reflection on a single assignment.

An example of poor and good quality can seen below, taken from the course:

The second feedback, using the online Turnitin system is clearly more effective. The text is clear and well formatted, with advice which can be used across different future assignments.

Group Activity

As part of a group work, we were asked to join an online study group and discuss one of the offered topics.

As a group, we chose the second case, see below.

20 days following my last comment on 27th June, only one more comment was added. For this reason, I saw fit to gather together responses to date to create a summary comment for the public discussion (16/07):


This week has reinforced the need to ensure assessment and feedback is provided regularly in the personal tutoring system.

I am happy to learn that much of what I do to improve engagement was covered in the two weeks, therefore I am following the best path for Coventry University.

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