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Student Engagement and Motivation (particularly in Large Class)

Engineering courses are often taught through lectures, tutorials, and laboratory sessions with long contact hours involving concepts of mathematics and hard sciences. It is often hard to expect students to be fully engaged with the course materials given the complicated concepts and long contact hours. Therefore there has been a growing interest in conducting research in the area of student engagement and motivation, which may involve investigation, development and evaluation of pedagogies that can be used to engage student learning particularly in large class and motivate them to take responsibility of their own learning.

As concepts taught in engineering courses involves complex knowledge of mathematics and hard sciences (such as physics, chemistry, biology, and geology), it is not uncommon for engineering students, particularly those who are unable to keep up with the progress of the course, to lose the motivation to pursue their major and drop-out from their course. Thus, the issue of student retention and progression within the context of engineering has gained significant attention, urging universities with accredited engineering programmes to devote their efforts in retaining students in their designated major. Research conducted in student engagement and motivation can significantly target the issues in student retention and progression.


  • Chan, C. K. Y., & Colloton, T. (2012). Informal instructional design to engage and retain students in engineering. In T. M. Sobh & K. Elleithy (Eds.), Emerging trends in computing, informatics, systems sciences, and engineering (pp. 619-627). New York: Springer.
  • Fuentes, A. A., Vasquez, H., & Freeman, R. A. (2011, June). Development and implementation of introduction to mechanical engineering challenge-based instruction to increase student retention and engagement. Paper presented at the 118th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Maier, H. R., & Rowan, T. S. C. (2007). Increasing student engagement with graduate attributes. Australasian Journal of Engineering Education. 13(1), 21-29. Retrieved from http://www.engineersmedia.com.au/journals/aaee/pdf/AJEE_13_1_Maier1.pdf
  • Swinburne University's Engineering & Science Education Research (ESER) Group. (n.d.). Student engagement. Retrieved from http://www.swinburne.edu.au/engineering/eser/research/#Student Engagement