Incentivizing Engagement

A short note about a column in Inside Higher Ed about student engagement in flipped courses. Chandralekha Singh, physicist and director of the Science Education Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh, reports that she and her colleagues interviewed thirty-seven science majors about remote instruction. These students said that they simply did not do ungraded in-class and out-of-class components of flipped courses. For example, they did not watch videos or complete self-assessment exercises on a weekly basis; instead, these tasks were completed, if at all, right before exams. Synchronous class meetings, in which the students were expected to discuss this work, became useless.

This parallels my own experience: if it’s not graded, students won’t do it. Anything that doesn’t explicitly affect the final course grade is perceived as useless busywork.