Fostering Student Engagement

Student engagement can be defined as students’ participation in activities that lead to high-quality learning (Weimer,2012). As educators in higher education, encouraging high-quality learning in our students can be achieved through various means including adapting our teaching to encourage engaged learning (Barkley, 2010). As the campus community works towards enhancing the quality of learning experiences by strengthening student engagement, we look forward to initiatives at the Taylor Institute that will develop the ability of faculty on how to: engage students’ in higher order learning experiences, include diverse perspectives in our classrooms, connect learning to real life issues, create a sense of community in the classroom, and encourage collaborative learning within our classrooms amongst others.

The Taylor Institute’s learning spaces are intentionally designed to foster collaboration (e.g., mobile furniture in the classrooms and conversation pods, informal group study areas, and collaborative technologies throughout the building). Additionally, the entire campus community is considering how to strengthen student engagement to improve the quality of their learning experiences. To contribute to these broader discussions on student engagement, and to encourage meaningful collaboration within the Institute’s learning spaces, the Taylor Institute is launching the Fostering Student Engagement Series, a collection of workshops and resources all contributing to furthering student engagement

Taylor Institute initiatives that support student engagement

Course Design: Attend the Course Design Program or contact us to arrange a consultation. For more information:

Teaching Online Program: The Teaching Online Program (TOP) is a 6-week, immersive program for instructors who want to get started or enhance their online teaching. TOP is taught entirely online using a variety of technologies and strategies to facilitate participant learning through interactions, content delivery, and assignments. TOP is designed to give participants practical skills and knowledge in both developing and teaching an online course in higher education.
For more information:

Open Classroom Week: Open Classroom Week is an initiative of the University of Calgary Teaching Academy, supported by the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning. The event gives instructors the opportunity to observe classroom practices across Faculties and disciplines, and to engage in conversations about teaching with their colleagues.  Each term, a handful (10 – 15) instructors open their classroom doors to allow their colleagues to observe their approaches to different classroom settings, teaching practices, technology applications and learning experiences. The week wraps up with a themed conversation that serves as a debrief for both instructors and observers.
For more informmation:

Teaching in the TI Learning Spaces: The Taylor Institute's first-floor customizable learning spaces are dedicated to intentional teaching and learning projects conducted in University of Calgary courses.
For more information:

Student Egagement Action Map: Based on NSSE student engagement indicators, this website provides additional information on student engagement practices including high impact practices to integrate into course design.


Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: a handbook for college faculty. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons

Zepke, N. & Leach, L. (2010). Improving student engagement: Ten proposals for action. Active Learning in Higher Education, 11 (3), 167-177.