For those of us fortunate enough to be teaching again in person, it’s been wonderful to be back. Teaching via Zoom just isn’t the same.
That said, between the masks, and general uncertainty, and anxiety, it’s still more challenging to keep students engaged than it was pre-COVID. So as Spring approaches, we wanted to explore . . .
How do we engage our students even more this Spring?
Step 1: Get Relevant on Day #1
Think about the college classes you engaged with most as a student. Which classes had the most positive impact on your life? Which classes had the most positive impact on your career? Which classes do you remember most fondly?
Chances are, those classes all had something in common:
Those classes were personally relevant.
There was something about those classes that resonated with where you were in your life, on a personal level. Whether they tapped into your interests, piqued your curiosity, or aligned with your aspirations, those classes probably weren’t an introduction to a generic subject; those classes were about how that subject impacted you and your future.
Your students are looking for the same thing.
Students want to engage with subjects that are relevant to their lives right now. That’s why in every class there are a few students who automatically engage (i.e., those that see themselves as entrepreneurs) and those that have a harder time engaging (i.e., those that don’t).
And that’s why entrepreneurship can be a hard class to teach. While you and I know entrepreneurship skills will be relevant throughout their career, it’s hard for students to see how entrepreneurship will be relevant today.
That’s why in the Experiential Entrepreneurship Curriculum (ExEC), we use exercises like “Pilot your Purpose” to help students discover their passions, and “Fears and Curiosities” where they use those passions to design what they’d like to learn.
The first page of the “Pilot Your Purpose” exercise for ExEC students.
Leveraging these exercises in the first week of class, and strategically revisiting them throughout the course, make entrepreneurship skills personally relevant to students, regardless of their desire to “become an entrepreneur.”
Whether you use a curriculum like ExEC, or your own combination of resources, in order for your class to be as engaging as your most memorable classes, you’ll want your students to see how entrepreneurship is personally relevant to them from day one.
Step 2: Get Organized
If you’ve ever tried to increase engagement by incorporating exercises from disparate sources (e.g. journals, conferences, etc.)., you know that’s not the answer.
Activities alone don’t make a class engaging.
Individual exercises can be interesting, but without a cohesive thread linking them together, students check out because it’s not clear how what they’re learning can improve their lives.
Structuring your course from the beginning with a combination of:
- Personally relevant exercises
- That cohesively teach a set of
- Real-world entrepreneurial skills
Has been the formula we’ve found that keeps students engaged at 120+ colleges and universities:
Since the pandemic began, virtually every element of your course needs to be reflected in your Learning Management System (LMS) so that students know what’s due when, regardless of how they attend class.
To assist our ExEC instructors, we’ve created course shells for all of the major LMSs so it takes less than 5 minutes to get a new course imported.
And despite our best efforts, scheduling issues inevitably show up. Whether due to holidays, weather events, or COVID outbreaks, you need to make sure your schedule can withstand unexpected disruptions.
For ExEC instructors, we produce a wide range of schedules to accomodate in-person, online, and hybrid classes anywhere from 8 to 15 weeks long:
All of which can be customized to include a combination of award-winning lessons and your own.
not every classsince the pandemic began, virtually every element of your course needs to be reflected in your Learning Management System (LMS).
Fair and Transparent Grading
All that said, no amount of engaging activities and structure will make a difference if students feel like they aren’t be graded fairly.
To that end, structured rubrics go a long way toward making assessment transparent.
For ExEC courses, we produce rubrics for each assignment which makes grading more objective – something both students an instructors appreciate.
This spring, if you want to save time while engaging your students, use “the best entrepreneurship curriculum available” – structured, cohesive, interactive experiences that will engage your students in deep learning.
Step 3: Have Fun
Teaching should be enjoyable – for you and your students. In fact . . .
The more fun you have, the more fun your students will have.
Engage Your Students This Spring
If you haven’t already . . .
Preview ExEC and see if it can help you and your students!
Even if ExEC isn’t a fit for you, we hope you’re able to:
- Make your class relevant from day #1
- Get organized
- Have fun
This combination should help your students get, and stay engaged, throughout your course.
In an upcoming post, we will share information about our upcoming Winter Summit where we will share some exciting new exercises!
Subscribe here to be the first to grab a “seat” at the Summit.