To Faculty & Staff

High-impact practices (HIPs) engage students in learning activities inside and outside of the classroom. Students who participate in HIPs at UNT develop essential and meaningful learning because they can apply the skills learned to their futures! Students who participate in HIPs at UNT acknowledge the purpose and goals of their experiences which helps students develop marketable skills like critical thinking, communication (both oral and written form), teamwork, leadership, personal and social responsibility, and empirical and quantitative reasoning skills. HIPs are not just activities embedded in student experiences because successfully implementing HIPs requires intentionality and assessment.

Students engaged in HIPs will...

  • Understand and appreciate the dimensions of the problem,
  • Understand the underlying meaning of information,
  • Integrate different perspectives,
  • Discover patterns and themes,
  • Apply knowledge in different contexts, and
  • View issues from multiple perspectives (Kuh, 2008). 

What are the benefits of engaging students in HIPs? 

  • Lead to more positive attitudes about college, faculty, learning, and students themselves.
  • Promote greater engagement in deep learning and self-reported gains through learning.
  • Increase retention and graduation rates with the largest benefits for historically disadvantaged students.
  • Students are better equipped to showcase and articulate their learning to future employers.
  • Employers want to hire graduates who are able to articulate and demonstrate skills necessary for success (Kuh, 2008). 

Conditions for Quality High-Impact Practices 

  • Significant investment of time and effort by students over an extended period of time.
  • Multiple interactions with faculty and peers about substantive matters.
  • Students experience diversity.
  • Frequent, timely, and constructive feedback.
  • Periodic, structured opportunities to reflect on and integrate learning.
  • Opportunities to discover relevance of learning through real world application.
  • Performance expectations set at appropriately high levels.
  • Public demonstration of competence.
  • (Kuh, 2008; NSSE, 2019; Uno, 2018)

Why do HIPs matter at UNT? 

Throughout college, students are exposed to learning opportunities to develop marketable skills that employers’ value, but students often struggle articulating what was learned in college and how it may apply to their future. This articulation is made simpler when the experiences students have collected in a central place with assessment and validation. NACE identified several skills that employers’ value in a college graduate entering the workforce such as critical thinking, communication (oral and written), teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, social responsibility, and empirical and quantitative skills. All of these valued skills are marketable skills that Connect provides support for assessment and validation!

Faculty already engage their students in high-impact practices throughout their coursework and partnering with Connect can support students collecting these experiences in a meaningful and intentional way that supports future success! Connect Faculty assess their students experiences on common rubrics developed by AAC&U, see Marketable Skills Rubrics.

Other Helpful Tips for Evaluating HIPs

How could your students demonstrate that they have risen to a challenge?

  • What kind of specific, substantive goal did the student achieve?
  • How much time did the student spend on the assignment or project?

What could learning from others look like?

  • What does learning from different circumstances and people mean in your course?
  • How could students demonstrate collaboration and teamwork?

How might your student demonstrate an adjustment in performance?

  • How are students using feedback and reflections to guide performance?
  • How did the student learn from mistakes or demonstrate increased awareness of process and self?

How might your student apply learning to real-life situations?

  • What could a public demonstration of competence be in your course?
  • What could a student do to demonstrate integration of learning with the world outside of the class?

Are you interested in integrating a HIP, but not sure where to start? 

Consider converting an assignment to be an experiential learning activity and use the below seven steps as a guide:

  1. What are your learning objectives?
    • What do you want your students to take away from this experiential learning activity?
  2. How will you assess the learning?
    • Will you rely on similar assessment tools used previously or are you interested in evaluating in a different way?
    • Reflections on learning are commonly used as a form of assessment on experiential learning.
  3. What content knowledge do students need before participating?
    • Consider what information the students need to integrate their knowledge with their experience.
    • Consider packaging the information in a way that communicates the intention of the activity along with the content knowledge necessary to encourage linking of information.
  4. Determine and facilitate the observable experience.
    • Is the observable experience something you are creating yourself or something you found elsewhere? 
    • Consider facilitating or actively participating in the observable experience to provide a model for students and increase relevancy.
  5. Engage students in a reflective process.
    • Try to encourage reflective practices to occur 24 hours within observing the experience to capture student reactions
    • Are you using reflection as the form of assessment?
    • Consider developing prompts to guide your students through the reflective practice. Use your insight of the concepts to help students explore the material more meaningfully
    • Consider engaging students in a creative reflection through use of multimedia, different technology, poetry, collage, song, etc. 
  6. Students share their learning.
    • Consider requiring students to create a 30-second snapshot of their learning by: (a) describing what they learned, (b) how it compares to what they knew about the topic, and (c) how it informs their understanding. 
    • Students articulating observations and connecting the experience encourages integration and reinforces learning.
    • Consider providing a space for students to share their 30-second snapshots of learning with one another through open and facilitated discussion 
  7. Students create their own experiential plan.
    • Consider encouraging students to make suggestions to improve the experience, to develop their own experience to learn and apply the content, and to share this feedback with each other and faculty. 
    • Students encouraged to consider how their learning could be more meaningful can give faculty further insight into making the experience more robust in the future while also allowing students to take responsibility for their own learning processes. 

Referenced from Hanrahan, T. (2020). Creating experiential learning opportunities in any course. Faculty Focus: Higher Ed Teaching Strategies. 

 

Connect developed considerations for engaging students in high-impact practices that can support faculty in successfully implementing these experiences into their curriculum. For more information, contact Jordan.rogers@unt.edu or Melanie.Mitchell@unt.edu​

This resource helps faculty and staff determine how to integrate important elements of high-impact practices into the student experience.

You can also download these considerations here.