Student engagement in the context of commuter students: Student experiences
Liz Thomas Associates has been commissioned by The Student Engagement Project to explore student engagement in the context of commuter students.  This study recognises that ‘commuter students’, who live away from the university or college and travel to attend, may experience challenges in relation to their engagement beyond the classroom.  It seeks to explore how these issues are experienced by students and institutions, and what can be done to improve engagement and student outcomes.

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Aims of the Framework

The UK Professional Standards Framework:

1. Supports the initial and continuing professional development of staff engaged in teaching and supporting learning

2. Fosters dynamic approaches to teaching and learning through creativity, innovation and continuous development in diverse academic and/or professional settings

3. Demonstrates to students and other stakeholders the professionalism that staff and institutions bring to teaching and support for student learning

4. Acknowledges the variety and quality of teaching, learning and assessment practices that support and underpin student learning

5. Facilitates individuals and institutions in gaining formal recognition for quality enhanced approaches to teaching and supporting learning, often as part of wider responsibilities that may include research and/or management activities.

The UK Professional Standards Framework for teaching and supporting learning in higher education, 2011

Participating organisations

The successful transition of students into higher education is now generally regarded as a longer, more complex process than ‘induction’. This has received some criticism (Longden 2006) but has also been found to be beneficial in, for example, the case of institutions recognised as performing well in the retention of students from lower socio-economic groups (Yorke and Thomas 2003). We have found it useful to define our terms so that ‘induction’ (‘first-contact’ during week one) forms part of the overall ‘transition’ strategy, which we see as the longer process of acclimatisation during the first year. Read More →

edX MOOC Research Gives Clearer Picture, Challenges Assumptions. Dian Schaffhauser, 04/01/15. If massive open online courses are goldmines of data, surely, edX must be the mother lode. MIT and Harvard University have just published a 37-page draft report that summarizes a multitude of findings from two years of hosting 68 courses on the popular MOOC platform. That encompassed 1.7 million participants, 10 million “participant hours” and 1.1 billion “participant-logged events.” edX is a non-profit learning platform founded by the two institutions in 2012. (Those courses offered on edX by Harvard are available through HarvardX; those from MIT are available on MITx.) Read More →

Interpolated memory tests reduce mind wandering and improve learning of online lectures. Karl K. Szpunar1, Novall Y. Khan, and Daniel L. Schacter.
Abstract The recent emergence and popularity of online educational resources brings with it challenges for educators to optimize the dissemination of online content. Here we provide evidence that points toward a solution for the difficulty that students frequently report in sustaining attention to online lectures over extended periods. In two experiments, we demonstrate that the simple act of interpolating online lectures with memory tests can help students sustain attention to lecture content in a manner that discourages task-irrelevant mind wandering activities, encourages task-relevant note-taking activities, and improves learning. Importantly, frequent testing was associated with reduced anxiety toward a final cumulative test and also with reductions in subjective estimates of cognitive demand. Our findings suggest a potentially key role for interpolated testing in the development and dissemination of online educational content. Read More →