Active Learning in the Lenses of Faculty: A Qualitative Study in Universities in the United Arab Emirates
Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Many university students across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the world face the problem of low achievement when compared to students graduating from other countries. This may be due to lower student engagement, which in turn may be a result of faculty’s perception of student engagement. The purpose of the study was to investigate the perception of faculty members on the ways that students are actively engaged in their learning process. The conceptual framework for the study consisted of Chi and Wylie’s interactive, constructive, active, and passive learning framework, which emphasizes the relationship between students’ academic achievement and their engagement in the learning activity. The research questions addressed faculty members’ definition and description of students being engaged in the teaching and learning process at 4-year universities in the UAE, and the ways faculty members perceive active learning that can successfully support student engagement. Qualitative research was chosen for the study, and data were collected through an open-ended online questionnaire from 106 faculty members teaching at universities in the UAE. Resulting from thematic analysis, the findings suggested that faculty members defined active students as those who participate in class are motivated, pay attention, ask questions, interact with others, take responsibility, and submit assignments on time. The study results further showed that participants described students being engaged as interactive, inquisitive, autonomous, diligent, attentive, collaborative, and punctual students as engaged in their learning. The findings potentially contribute to a better understanding of the teaching and learning process in higher education and suggest ways for deans and academic leaders to enhance student engagement, thus improving higher education institutions and leading to positive social change.
Open Access Status
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