University of California, Riverside

Student Technology Fee

Student Success, Engagement, and Technology

No generation is more at ease with online, collaborative technologies than today’s young people—“digital natives”, who have grown up in an immersive computing environment. Where a notebook and pen may have formed the tool kit of prior generations, today’s students come to class armed with smart phones, laptops and iPods.

Taken from The Economist Intelligence Unit 2008.

UCR’s Student Technology Fee will help ensure that UCR’s students and instructors have access to a digitally robust instructional environment that leverages students’ familiarity with technology into classroom and learning successes. The following notes discuss the importance and impact of technology facilitated engagement on teaching, learning, and student success.

Benefits of Engagement

As student profiles, backgrounds, aptitudes, and expectations continue to evolve, UCR must be prepared to engage its students in a variety of flexible, dynamic, and in some cases virtual, learning environments.

These learning environments should not dictate a particular pedagogy nor assume all student learning occurs in the same manner. Rather, UCR’s flexible and technology rich learning environments should combine physical appointments, virtual experiences, and various technologies in such a way that a variety of instructional approaches may be adopted. The goal of providing such environments is enhanced student engagement and improved learning success. Why is student engagement important? Please consider the following:

…student engagement helps all learners, [but] those who come to college less well prepared academically or are from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic backgrounds tend to benefit even more… [engagement] has positive effects on grades and increases the odds that students will return to college for a second year.

From summary of “Engaged Learning: Fostering Success of All Students”
Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, School of Education
Read the entire report

Technology-Facilitated Development of Core Competencies Contributes to Student Success

 Technology facilitated (digitally enabled) instruction enables instructors to explore a variety of pedagogies via the utilization of adaptable, flexible technologies designed to facilitate collaboration and interaction.

These innovative approaches will engage students and allow them to acquire knowledge and skills beyond their particular academic discipline, leading ultimately to improved student success.

These transferable skills / core competencies might include enhanced collaboration, communications, writing, and problem solving abilities. Example of pedagogies that UCR’s technology rich environment supports include the following:

Active/Participative Learning

Student success can be enhanced by creating environments allowing students to “learn by doing.” Technology can enable students (and collaborative groups) to engage in simulations, case studies, problem solving exercises, etc. Innovative uses of furniture and other physical appointments allow instructors to rely less on lecture, listening, note taking, etc. and explore classroom activities promoting student inquiry, discovery, and community-based learning.

Peer to Peer Learning

Peer to peer instructional approaches allow students within a given group to act as both teachers and learners. “These environments [facilitated by cyber infrastructure and flexible classrooms] allow a group of students to take collective responsibility for identifying their own learning needs and planning how these might be addressed. This is a vital learning-how-to-learn skill as well as providing practice for the kinds of interaction needed in employment. Learning to cooperate with others to reach mutual goals seems a necessary prerequisite for operating in a complex society” and for achieving undergraduate success (Boud, Cohen, Sampson).

Collaboration (Team-based Learning)

Collaborative learning implies a broad range of practices emphasizing faculty design, guidance, and management of the instructional process, but with the incorporation of peer to peer and active/participative learning (learn by doing) opportunities. The use of case studies is an example of this approach.

More on the Importance of Student Engagement

Taken from EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 5 (September/October 2010): 38–56

"Student engagement is perhaps the key element for almost any learning context. When engaged, learners are enthusiastic and excited about the subject. Their work is informed by the enjoyment of discovery. Engaged learners work willingly, instead of by coercion, and approach their assignments as something that matters to them personally. The spirit engendered by engaged learners in a course is infectious, spreading among and sustaining all participants.

It follows that devising techniques, supported by technology, to capture, retain, and sustain student engagement should be at the forefront of course design. In doing so, instructors and course designers need to..." leverage technology to achieve the following goals:

  • Garner students' interest in the subject matter at the outset of a course.
  • Engage the students both in and out of the classroom.
  • Engage students more directly with the subject, with each other, and with the faculty.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of these techniques and incorporate feedback to further improve teaching and learning.

More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Department Information

Student Technology Fee
Computing & Communicaions Bldg.

Tel: (951) 827-6495
Fax: (951) 827-2726