We have concluded a period of research on what we all understand by the term student engagement. In total 46 pictures of student engagement have been obtained from a series of workshops with stakeholders from colleges, universities and sector agencies. Participants ranged from student groups (including sparqs Associate Trainers, elected student officers, course reps, student reviewers and students not engaged in representative or quality processes) to all levels of staff across the sector, both with and without specific student engagement roles. These pictures and an analysis of what they raise can be viewed on the sparqs website on the Student Engagement Project page: http://www.sparqs.ac.uk/sharingpractice/section.php?cat=90
A very sincere thank you goes out to all of you who participated in the research. Your contribution was invaluable and we hope you also found the workshops interesting.
Rather than using the results to define student engagement, we have instead collected the vast range of activities, views and approaches talked about under the general term ‘student engagement’ and categorised them into five key areas. These are:
1. Providing services that help students initially engage with and continue to feel part of a supportive institution
2. Students engaging with their own learning
3. Students commenting on and shaping the direction of learning
4. Formal student engagement mechanisms, quality and governance
5. Engagement in shaping the student experience at a national level
The divisions are of course arbitrary – the inter relationships between the areas are numerous and complex. The aim has been to create categories which help develop work in a practical sense by drawing together all thinking in one framework, giving proper status to areas which have perhaps got lost or confused in discussions to date and clarifying areas which have until now been generalised under headings such as ‘students as co-creators’.
The full consultation document will be available on the sparqs website shortly, via the Student Engagement Project page noted above.
We will be discussing the framework and its use at a variety of events and meetings across the sector. As the project was part funded by the Higher Education Academy some of the findings are also available on their website and initial findings were presented at their conference in Nottingham on 5th & 6th July 2011.
This work is extremely important for sparqs. It will form the basis for strategic work on student engagement across the sector, helping us to clarify approaches, prioritise our work and pull together materials and support in a range of areas. We look forward to working with the sector further on the framework.
To find out more, please contact Eve Lewis, Head of sparqs, at email@example.com