Improving Student Engagement

When I see surveys of marketing instructors, the most common challenge they report is getting students to engage with course material. Which is a challenge even with fun content like marketing (which, while I am biased, I have to think is more stimulating to most 18-22 year olds than accounting or finance). Most of us want our students to arrive in class having prepared that day’s material — often a textbook (or other) reading/watching. If students arrive in class well prepared, they can better engage with any in-class activities and the instructor does not have to use precious class time to regurgitate facts and can focus on application of that content.

How can we incentivize students to prepare for class? A recent article on the Harvard Business School Publishing website titled “How to Help Undergraduates Work Smarter Outside of Class” (October 14, 2021) offers some great tips. The article starts with “3 Ways to Incentivize Undergraduates to Prepare for Class” — suggesting pre-class assignments (requiring short memos), threats (telling students they will be cold called) and grabbing attention and drawing them in (using polls to kick off class).

If you use a group project(s) in your classes, you will want to read on, as the article also offers “7 Tips to Make Undergraduate Group Projects More Successful.”

The HBSP site is a great resource. If you register, they will send you regular emails with more great teaching ideas.

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