THE CURRENT STATE OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AT UNIVERSITIES. REVIEW OF IATED CONGRESS PAPERS (2011-2015)
The concept of teachers' roles in conveying and transferring knowledge is being displaced by the force of recent generations who have grown up in an information society. Neither students nor instructors had ever had access to such accurate, diverse and multidisciplinary means for the teaching-learning process. However, nor had there been such a large distance between the two groups, or such unease.
In the particular case of the Spanish university system’s adaptation to the EHEA (European Higher Education Area), teachers’ direct involvement in said process due to their relationship with students has led them to rethink education. This has required shifting from a lecturer-centred model to a student-centred one. In view of the challenge involving such a profound cultural change for universities, which are organisationally complex, endeavours have been made to give the new model more flexible guidelines with resources earmarked for training to transform teaching methodology. However, this entire process has taken place in a context of economic crisis. Teachers have therefore often had to devote much greater amounts of time and effort to these tasks while also working at facilities that had not been adapted to the new methodologies due to lack of investment in infrastructures. In effect, changes without any budgetary support have had to be accepted, above all in public education where constant cutbacks have limited possibilities for action.
Today’s universities must face the challenge of engaging, motivating, making students participate and ultimately involving them academically and emotionally in their learning process and recognition of the university itself. This phenomenon is set within a broader movement with deep international implications, the so called Student Engagement, which is still latent on the Spanish university panorama. However, it is becoming increasingly important from the perspective of research, education, theory and debate on its content as well as teaching praxis due to the growing evidence of its critical role in students’ success and learning.
The main contribution of this work consists of analysis of the content of papers given at IATED congresses in the last five years. The texts are organised by years, countries, and themes to draw conclusions on the main ideas we observe from an overall view of each group of studies conducted on Student Engagement. These can be considered as the current state of the issue or the evolution of the topic at the leading congresses on education innovation which has had an impact in Spain, where the events were organised, as well as on the international scene.