The Room Itself is Not Enough: Student Engagement in Active Learning Classrooms

Kelsey J. Metzger, David Langley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The primary purpose of this paper is to describe the variety of active engagements that characterize student behaviors in active learning classrooms (ALCs) across an undergraduate degree program. The number of different engagement types observed during a single class meeting varied between two and eight across 23 different courses. Three forms of engagement accounted for nearly 75% of all observed time, regardless of the subgroups (e.g., consistent in STEM vs Non-STEM courses, lower division vs upper division courses). In addition, unique patterns of student engagement characterized the pedagogical “signature” of a given course. We conclude that intensive class observation focused on student engagement not only has value for comprehensive undergraduate program review but also serves as a lever that invites faculty reflection on pedagogical practice toward course improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)150-160
Number of pages11
JournalCollege Teaching
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, © 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Curriculum
  • educational environments
  • pedagogy
  • student behavior
  • teaching methods


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