Monday, February 15, 2010

Opportunity to Assess Out of Class Experience

Applying Knowledge is an article from Macleans OnCampus that talks about how schools are using NSSE results to improve student engagement. UBC Okanagan's approach to providing dedicated space to commuting students through their Collegia Program is cited as one way that Canadian schools have adapted to the knowledge gained through NSSE.

The article goes on to say "Canada needs 'a more systematic data sharing and analysis exercise' that breaks down information by school and then by faculty, making cross-institutional comparisons easy." Seeking a greater understanding through comparison and benchmarking of Canadian schools is needed.

However, it should not be limited to understanding the differences in student engagement by faculty. Understanding the role that services for students, student club involvement and all the other ways students get involved outside the classroom is needed as well. Achieving this end will be a little more challenging because data on student involvement in these types of activities is likely not captured in a central database. Nonetheless, if groups manage their own data then comparing that information to student engagement data is possible. At Ryerson we have been working with our planning office to do just that. Hopefully, we will have some results to share with you in the near future.

Assessment is increasing in importance and getting involved in how data is used to study student engagement presents a huge opportunity for everyone in higher education, especially those of us in student affairs.

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