Hodgkinson, Ann and Percy, Alisa, Exploring student engagement for Generation Y: a pilot in Environmental Economics, Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, 2008.
This paper reports on a pilot study involving the redesign of a third year Economics subject according to principles of engagement as they relate to the discursive Generation y student. The study involved a review of the literature, redesign of the subject to a blended learning format and evaluation of the design. The data collected included pre and post NSSE scores, subject grades, student surveys and qualitative feedback from individual students. While the redesign of the subject was constrained by available resources, and the implementation hindered by various systemic factors, it was found that in general the redesign did improve student engagement. In particular, it was found that the success of the scaffolded assessment tasks and the use of in-class activities as a means of revising for exams was significant. One issue that continues to perplex is the students’ mixed attitudes to attending lectures. Perhaps most importantly, the study indicates that by third year where traditional modes of teaching have characterised their curriculum, students have developed surface approaches to learning that cannot be corrected through individual third year courses.