I recently read an article on the McGill Reporter about how, in one classroom, engineering students sketched graphs onto their Wi-Fi devices and sent it to the front of the classroom. The professor immediately assessed how well the class understood the concept and adjusted according to the responses. On the spot. It was an example of some of the active learning techniques the university has launched to incorporate new, best teaching practices that help students be active participants in their education. To learn more about real-time polling, click here.

This story is a great example of how institutions are engaging students with technology. In today’s global economy, students must be prepared with critical thinking skills to help them be ready for a very competitive, technology-driven world after graduation. Engaged students naturally participate in tasks that challenge them, take initiative with new opportunities and collaborate with other students and faculty. Engaged students get more out of their courses and, therefore, are more likely to complete their courses and have higher outcomes.

Academic institutions offering more options for the student to engage technologically are experiencing increasing success.  By providing choices for fully virtual or blended courses, students are able to accomplish more on their own time and learn in a way many prefer. Engaging students in virtual or blended courses is even more important than in traditional face-to-face instruction.  Integrating online components including collaborative tools like, wiki’s, blogs, Web conferencing and more, classes change from being strictly stand-and-deliver lectures to a more engaging and collaborative environment. Discussion boards and chat technologies are also useful to connect students with faculty and other students outside of the classroom via native apps.

Digital content is another way instructors are engaging students interactively. Instructors believe that digital content provides a better course experience because it offers immediate feedback, increased engagement, and cost-effectiveness.  It simplifies the management of courses and monitoring student performance, and it allows instructors to easily customize content to the unique needs of their student populations.

I often ask university faculty and administrators, “How are you allowing technology to help you?” Sometimes this isn’t an easy question to answer. At Blackboard, we employ experts in this area to assess the student experience and help provide insight on the many opportunities that an organization has to improve their technology footprint. This same team has developed an intelligent, online tool known as the Student Engagement Scorecard. By answering a few questions, you get a scorecard that provides insights on how you’re doing as an organization.

So, how are you allowing technology to help you? 
Find out.

Click here to complete the Student Engagement Scorecard and see how you score.

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