Academic Engagement

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Academic engagement is when students are fully immersed in their learning, instead of superficial learning that occurs with memorization and merely doing the work necessary to pass the course. Students who are academically engaged are drawn to think in-depth, understand the material, and even discuss it with their peers. Academic engagement is ideally holistic, where it aims to address learning in the classroom. Successful academic engagement can contribute to lifelong learning, and even inspire continued engagement after post-secondary.

Improving the following components can contribute to effective academic engagement:

Cognitive engagement: the students’ ability to be involved in academic tasks through thinking

  • Are the course materials and classroom environment built for students to pay attention and process the information?
  • Is accessibility a forefront in the classroom?

*You can access our Accessibility and Accommodation Toolkit here.

Metacognitive engagement: ways students use to manage cognitive activities for learning

  • Are students inclined to reflect on their learning, engage in planning through concept mapping and work on knowledge gaps through engaging in different perspectives by peers?

Affective engagement: regulation of emotion within the student as well as their peers

  • Do students handle boredom and curiosity with the learning material, know how to regulate anxieties, maintain interest and motivation, and show empathy?

Social engagement: establishing opportunities for students to network with peers and teachers

  • Is there time set aside to cultivate supportive relationships from faculty, encourage group work and promote supportive peer relationships?

Task engagement: the intensity and methods in which students interact with learning materials meaningfully
(This is often reliant on a student’s interest and motivation as well as personal attributes such as resilience and endurance).

  • Is the student inclined to practice academic skills to improve as well as strive for attainable goals and rewards? Does the professor encourage or reward such manners?

Communicative engagement: engagement in terms of communication such as written, spoken, and non-verbal forms

  • Is the classroom equipped for receptive activities such as attentive listening, observing body language, gestures, and facial expressions? Is the classroom culture encouraging and safe(r) for productive activities such as presenting arguments or refuting the arguments?

Barriers to academic engagement can occur when any or all these components are not addressed within and outside of the classroom by the campus. There is an immense responsibility by the post-
secondary institution to create the space and environment for student engagement through policy, training, and allocation of resources.

Guide: PDF Version