The National Commission on Higher Education Attainment released its findings in April of 2012, addressing how faculty engagement with students can enhance retention and determination. It also highlighted the importance of faculty and student engagement and expressed an increased need for professional development opportunities that facilitate instructional proficiency using technology (Rhodes 2012).
The use of interactive classroom response systems removes the intimidation factor imposed by larger class sizes and encourage participation by engaging students with the technology they are already bringing to class. This data-driven approach to higher education is actively used by educators to increase faculty to student engagement at institutions across the nation.
One of the most accessible and cost-efficient technologies available is SchoolVision, a web-based platform that requires no extra hardware and uses the Wi-Fi to which students are already connected. It is used by instructors to engage their students with content questions, initiate classroom discussions, track attendance, conduct formative assessments and provide instant feedback to students.
The question statistics feature can guide classroom discussions by allowing instructors to instantly know if students understood the concepts that were taught. An anonymous Q&A button encourages participation without intimidation by allowing students to ask for clarification on topics when they would typically have remained silent.
Measuring the effectiveness of technology.
To examine the positive impact of increased faculty-student engagement using software platforms, Rogers State University researchers conducted a preliminary study that examined the effectiveness of this technology on student grades and course instructor evaluations.
This study used 19 instructor evaluation ratings and the grade distribution of the students in their courses. The instructors adopted SchoolVision for the same courses taught in Fall of 2015 and Fall 2016.
Data for instructor evaluations and grade distributions were provided by Rogers State University. The differences were calculated to demonstrate the impact of changes in instructor and course evaluations, and students’ grade distributions between Fall 2014 and Fall 2015.
In the first semester SchoolVision was used, the findings indicated that the percentage of A’s and B’s awarded increased by 4.41% and 6.35% respectively, while the percentages of C’s, D’s and F’s awarded decreased by 13.97%, 12.04%, and 1.94% respectively. The instructor evaluation ratings increased by 5.5%, the course evaluation ratings increased by 6.72%, and the overall evaluation rating also increased by 9.48%.
Grade distribution change using SchoolVision everyday
Instructor evaluation change using SchoolVision everyday
While future studies will show SchoolVision’s direct influence on graduation rates, the results of this study demonstrate that increased faculty-student engagement positively affects students’ achievement and course evaluations. It has also been shown that the use of SchoolVision keeps students engaged in class, increases attendance rates, and leads to an overall increase in student performance. SchoolVision is an affordable solution for schools interested in maximizing the effectiveness of their instruction with a multi-function system that is easy to navigate. If instructors can effectively implement this technology to increase student achievement, then no longer will they need to compete with the digital distractions which prevent students from learning but will instead be using it to their advantage.