ENGINE team evaluating teaching methods that effectively engage students


Leon Liebenberg headshot
Leon Liebenberg

Learning begins with student engagement, which in turn leads to knowledge and understanding. Once students understand, they become capable of effective performance or action. Then, critical reflection of their practice and understanding leads to higher-order thinking like exercising judgment and creating designs in the presence of constraints and unpredictability.

However, how does one engage students in an active and effective manner?

Teaching Associate Professor Leon Liebenberg and his interdisciplinary ENGagement In eNgineering Education (or ENGINE) team, have been evaluating a range of pedagogies of engagement or teaching strategies that foster student mastery of course concepts through cognitive and emotional engagement. Their investigation was sponsored by the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, or AE3.

The ENGINE team, which comprises 22 faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students from across campus, produced an online compendium of pedagogies of engagement. They present around 50 teaching strategies to effectively engage students. Some strategies are old, some are new, and they can be used in face-to-face or online learning environments, mostly irrespective of class size. On their website, the team also summarizes their interviews with a sampling of teaching award-winning instructors regarding their use of pedagogies of engagement.

If you are searching for new ways (like “virtual synchronous collaboration” using Miro) to engage your students, or if you want to revisit some well-established teaching strategies (like “think-pair-share”), then you might benefit from the information in the draft version of the online compendium.

This resource will also be made available on the AE3 website for dissemination by all College of Engineering instructors.

Liebenberg said that he “trusts that this online teaching resource will guide both intervention and critique. And that instructors will experiment with the various teaching strategies to promote creative narratives about the learning process. And to help students to effectively engage with learning material.”