Candy land: Engaging students in class

Tonya Lynn Nilsson, Camilla M. Saviz, David A. Saftner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Social media, cell phones, Candy Crush, the crossword in the student newspaper, and worries about the exam in the next class are among the many distractors competing for students' attention in class. Teaching in this potentially distraction-filled environment can pose significant challenges for instructors. Use of active learning techniques such as in-class activities, problem solving exercises, discussions, and questioning draw students' attention to the task at hand and help keep them engaged. Effective use of humor and fun are important tools in this endeavor. Numerous studies cite the importance of building positive rapport as a critical factor in promoting student learning. This study investigates the effectiveness of using candy in engineering classrooms and recommends methods of developing positive rapport using candy. Some faculty may be concerned about the use of candy in college classrooms as unprofessional or as a trick to curry student favor. Accordingly, students from four universities, both public and private, and from different geographical regions within the United States were asked for input about the use of candy in engineering courses. Results indicate that students feel that candy is an appropriate tool in college education and a majority agreed that candy use is not distracting or unprofessional. Similarly, students considered candy as a means for motivating them to pay attention and participate. The authors provide recommendations on how to incorporate use of candy in the classroom and list common pitfalls to avoid. This study demonstrates that, if used correctly, candy can aid student learning in college engineering classrooms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 24 2017
Event124th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Columbus, United States
Duration: Jun 25 2017Jun 28 2017


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