Monitoring student engagement in distance learning: an action research to examine and measure the behavioural engagement of students

Hussain, Fehmida ORCID logoORCID: and Bashir, Engie (2021) Monitoring student engagement in distance learning: an action research to examine and measure the behavioural engagement of students. In: 2nd Teaching and Learning Conference New Frontiers in Higher Education Teaching and Learning: Strategy and Planning for the Digital Learning Age, June 16 2021, Online. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Educators and policymakers have widely researched student engagement, an important yet complex construct that is strongly associated with student academic performance. There is a plethora of literature available on student engagement with considerable agreement on the multi-dimensional nature of student engagement, broadly categorized as affective, behavioral, and cognitive engagement (Appleton et al., 2008; Jimerson et al., 2003). Though affective and cognitive indicators are equally important, the focus of this study is behavioral engagement which includes observable student actions such as participation in class and extracurricular activities, attendance, and work habits (Fredricks et al., 2004).

Keeping students engaged in physical classrooms has been a challenging task. The shift to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tougher for students to retain focus and stay motivated. The lack of face-to-face accountability and monitoring makes it easier for a distance learner to give up and slip by unnoticed.

When observing student behavioral engagement in online learning classrooms, we have realized how some students lose interest over time. The students’ attention and participation decline with time. Due to the lack of motivation, they tend to miss more classes and fail to keep up with coursework. This widens the gap to utilize the support required at an adequate timing. To handle these learning disruptions more proactive digital monitoring measures should be placed for students across learning modules and extracurricular activities. Setting up a safety net where such conditions are less likely to occur will help students sustain academic performance.
Our traditional way of measuring students’ behavioral engagement has shown its limits in online learning environment. We propose that distance learning utilizes the Insights tool from MS Teams due to its superiority in measuring the required attributes.  The sample chosen in this action research is third-year students t0 gauge and examine their  behavioral engagement in the form of communication, digital activity and behavior patterns. The research will cover their academic commitment across modules and their interest in engaging in extra-curricular activities.  The objective is to design interventions to visualize the individual student’s needs leading to their academic success. 

Appleton, J.J., Christenson, S.L., & Furlong, M.J. (2008). Student engagement with school: Critical conceptual and methodological issues of the construct. Psychology in the Schools, 45, 369-386. doi: 10.1002/pits.20303

Fredricks, J.A., Blumenfeld, P.C., & Paris, A.H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research 74(1), 59-109. doi: 10.3102/00346543074001059

Jimerson, S.R., Campos, E., & Greif, J.L. (2003). Toward an understanding of definitions and measures of school engagement and related terms. The California School Psychologist, 8, 7-27.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Presentation)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Science and Technology > Computer Science
Item ID: 35779
Depositing User: Fehmida Hussain
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 08:30
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 17:50

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