Fostering student engagement through a real-world, collaborative project across disciplines and institutions
Higher Education Pedagogies
Ample research has identified several features of a learning experience likely to enhance student learning, including collaboration, open-ended exploration, and problem-based learning in real-life scenarios. Missing is a model of how instructors might combine these elements into a single project that works flexibly across disciplines and institutions. This article fills this gap by offering such a model and reporting on its effectiveness in fostering student engagement. It describes a project that instructors at four colleges and universities in Flint, Michigan (USA) piloted during the height of the Flint water crisis. The project asked students to apply class content to the real-world problem unfolding around them, and offered students an opportunity to collaborate with peers. We collected qualitative and quantitative data on students’ reactions to the project, and found that the project succeeded in engaging students. We offer recommendations for how instructors can create similar projects in their own classrooms.
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons. org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Mebert, Laura; Barnes, Roy; Dalley, Jacqueline; Gawarecki, Leszek; Ghazi Nezami, Farnaz; Shafer, Gregory; Slater, Jill; and Yezbick, Erin, "Fostering student engagement through a real-world, collaborative project across disciplines and institutions" (2020). Mathematics Publications. 105.