This case study reports on the findings from one of nine tertiary institutions that took part in a project funded by the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI) in New Zealand. The research question explored how institutional and non institutional learning environments influence student engagement with learning in a higher education, university setting. Data was collected initially by means of a questionnaire; subsequently more in-depth data was gathered through semi-structured interviews with students randomly selected from those who indicated, on the questionnaire, that they were willing to be interviewed. Respondents were enrolled for the first time in this institution, but not necessarily for the first time in a tertiary education programme. A conceptual model with four strands: motivation and agency; transactional engagement; institutional support and active citizenship was used to organise the data. Findings were analysed against a synthesis of current literature and suggest that factors identified in the first three strands of the conceptual model played a significant role in student engagement with learning; active citizenship, however, did not feature highly in student responses and is an aspect of engagement that could benefit from further research.
Recommended CitationRussell, Barbara and Slater, Gloria R L, Factors that Encourage Student Engagement: Insights from a Case Study of ‘First Time’ Students in a New Zealand University., Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice, 8(1), 2011.