Engaging the gender gap

Eric Sentell describes gender gaps that he has observed whilst he has been teaching across different institutions. He has observed that the female students are more interested and engaged whilst male student interact with their phones or stare out of the window. He is concerned about the development and ambition of his male students and wonders about possibilities for becoming unplugged from media culture

So for me, the gender gap raises not only economic concerns but also anxiety regarding my male students’ abilities to stick with problems. Complex problem-solving requires contemplation, and contemplation requires some engagement and persistence—like proofreading a one-line email before clicking send. This is especially true of most real-world adult problems; unlike video games or sports, they are rarely fun or entertaining to solve, and thus they require especially demanding forms of engagement and persistence.

Five factors that affect student motivation

Rob Kelly comments on an interview with Brett Jones, associate professor of educational psychology at Virginia Tech who has developed a MUSIC model of student motivation – eMpowerment, Usefulness, Success, Interest, and Caring.

Students need to feel that they can succeed in the course if they make a reasonable effort. The instructor can help students succeed by setting expectations, providing feedback, and facilitating the course so that students have access to additional resources if needed. “What resources do you have available for them to succeed? If you thought ahead you can know what problems students typically run into. A lot of times you can create additional documents or videos that explain the more difficult concepts,” Jones says.

In full,

Also Engagment and Motivation in MOOCs by Stephen Downes who looks at whether the choice of an educational path is sufficient to support motivation in MOOCs.