Keeping students engaged outside the classroom using Dysgu

Muztaba Fuad
Winston-Salem State University

Keeping students engaged with the course content between classes is challenging, and traditionally, assignments, essays, labs, and projects are used to address this challenge. Unfortunately, these out-of-class activities have limited impacts on improving students’ engagement outside the classroom because of the lack of real-time feedback and progress updates. Although most college advising guidelines state that students should study a specific number of hours at home, students seldom follow such guidelines. A possible reason for the lack of study outside the class is that students are working increasing hours on a job. Working more hours inevitably leads to students spending less time studying outside the class. Therefore, it is critical to develop methods that will ensure efficient usage of the students’ time for studying outside the classroom. Although online learning attempts to provide some flexibility, the lack of interaction between faculty and students in an online environment makes it challenging to keep the students engaged. Therefore, a more blended approach where face-to-face teaching is supplemented with interactive activities can support students’ learning outside the classroom. Furthermore, since mobile learning environments can deliver content anytime and anywhere, having a mobile-based active learning environment, which adapts to students’ needs, can assist faculty in guiding students’ knowledge acquisition after students leave the classroom. This poster showcases the NSF-funded Dysgu mobile application, which facilitates interactive learning experiences outside the classroom by providing personalization and adaptation to satisfy students’ needs. Dysgu enables faculty to create interactive activities that are delivered in a structured way to facilitate greater student engagement, better practice of learned concepts, and improved student learning outside the classroom. This is achieved by providing students with active learning activities that they can do during their most convenient times using the mobile platform, thus utilizing their time, and maximizing their engagement with the content. By having Dysgu, faculty can facilitate and monitor learning even after the students leave the classroom and enable early intervention when students fall behind their peers. The initial results show that students demonstrate highly positive attitudes towards Dysgu, specifically at the interactivity, prompt feedback, notification and personalization features, and the comparisons of one’s progress with the rest of the class.