High-Impact Practices for the Modern Campus

Kavitta Ghai
March 14, 2023

When it comes to upgrading our 400-year-old classroom model, the most important metric we can build towards is student success. Higher education is meant to prepare learners for not just the workforce, but for every part of their lives going forward. We must be teaching them how to present themselves as the best human they can be in all of their communities, for this is how we educate and build the next generation of innovators and problem-solvers. A modern college degree represents the vast and overall value a higher educational experience can provide for a student both in and out of the classroom. So naturally, when considering new methods to implement in pursuit of increased student success, most research suggests adopting practices that are collaborative, modern, and focused on holistic teaching styles that promote accessible learning.

✅ This is what we at Nectir define as High-Impact Practices for today's modern campus: proven methods for providing students with a higher level of social and educational success that contribute to a well-rounded learning experience.

From the Center for Engaged Learning at Elon University; an overview of different types of HIPs.

In this breakdown of HIPs, we'll cover the basics of common implementations, leading research studies, and the proven benefits for students. As our series on HIPs continues, we'll begin to breakdown the best practices used by instructors on Nectir and provide case studies for some of the most successful implementations we've seen.

Common Implementations of High-Impact Practices

🍎 High-impact practices (HIPs) in teaching are instructional methods that have been shown to significantly enhance student learning outcomes, retention, and graduation rates. These practices involve active learning, engagement, and reflection, which can help students develop critical thinking skills and connect their learning to real-world applications. Some examples of high-impact practices include:

  1. Collaborative learning: Working in groups on projects, discussions, or problem-solving activities can help students develop communication and teamwork skills, as well as deepen their understanding of course material.
  2. Undergraduate research: Participating in research projects with faculty members can help students develop research skills, increase their knowledge of a subject, and provide valuable experiences that can be applied in future careers.
  3. Service learning: Engaging in community service activities as part of a course can help students apply what they have learned in class to real-world situations, as well as develop a sense of civic responsibility.
  4. Experiential learning: This includes internships, fieldwork, and other hands-on experiences that allow students to apply theoretical concepts in real-world settings.
  5. Writing-intensive courses: These courses require students to write extensively, both in and out of class, which can help them develop critical thinking, communication, and writing skills.

➡️ These practices are beneficial to the learning experience because they promote active engagement and reflection, which can deepen students' understanding of course material and help them develop skills that are essential for success in their academic and professional careers. HIPs also help students develop a sense of ownership over their learning, which can lead to increased motivation and persistence. Furthermore, HIPs provide opportunities for students to connect with faculty members and peers, which can help create a supportive learning community and promote a sense of belonging.

Leading Research on High-Impact Practices

🍎 When choosing which new teaching methods to implement, it's always mission-critical to refer to the research first. We've compiled some of the best research available on HIPs and their proven benefits for students, so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to your own classroom or campus:

  1. "High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter" by George Kuh (2008) This influential report from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) identifies ten HIPs, including first-year seminars, undergraduate research, and service learning, and examines their effectiveness in improving student learning outcomes.
  2. "The Benefits of a Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates in Geosciences (REU) Program: Insights from Participant Interviews" by Eric Baer, et al. (2011) This study explores the impact of a summer research experience on undergraduate students in the geosciences, finding that the program enhanced students' skills, confidence, and interest in pursuing graduate studies.
  3. "Improving Undergraduate Learning: Findings and Policy Recommendations from the SSRC-CLA Longitudinal Project" by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa (2011) This book presents findings from a six-year study of more than 2,300 undergraduate students at four-year colleges and universities in the United States, focusing on the impact of HIPs on students' critical thinking, complex reasoning, and written communication skills.
  4. "High-Impact Practices and Student Success" by Natasha Jankowski and David Kalsbeek (2018) This report from the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) synthesizes findings from more than 1,800 studies on HIPs, highlighting the ways in which HIPs promote student success, particularly for historically underserved populations.
  5. "Evidence for the Impact of Faculty Development Programs on Undergraduate STEM Education" by Melanie Cooper, et al. (2021) This meta-analysis examines the impact of faculty development programs on undergraduate STEM education, finding that such programs can enhance faculty members' teaching practices and improve student learning outcomes.

➡️ These studies offer valuable insights into the effectiveness of HIPs in promoting student learning and success in higher education.

The Proven Benefits of HIPs for Students

🍎 Implementing high-impact practices (HIPs) in higher education has been shown to provide numerous benefits for students. Here are some of the research-backed proven benefits of HIPs:

  1. Increased engagement and retention: HIPs such as undergraduate research, service learning, and study abroad have been linked to higher levels of student engagement and retention, as students are more likely to feel connected to their education and to persist in their studies.
  2. Improved learning outcomes: HIPs have been shown to improve students' critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills, as well as their ability to apply their learning in real-world contexts.
  3. Enhanced career readiness: HIPs such as internships, co-op programs, and capstone projects provide students with opportunities to develop the skills and knowledge needed for success in the workplace, including teamwork, leadership, and project management.
  4. Increased cultural awareness and global competency: HIPs such as study abroad and service learning in diverse communities can broaden students' perspectives and increase their cultural awareness, helping them to develop the global competencies needed in today's interconnected world.
  5. Narrowing of achievement gaps: HIPs have been shown to be particularly effective for historically underrepresented students, including first-generation, low-income, and minority students, narrowing achievement gaps and promoting equity in higher education.

➡️ These benefits have been demonstrated through a variety of research studies and are key reasons why HIPs are widely recognized as effective strategies for promoting student success in higher education.

Now that you're an expert in the common implementations of HIPs, leading research studies, and the overall benefits for students, stay tuned for the next installment in this Learning Series where we'll begin to cover real case studies from instructors across the nation who have successfully transformed their classrooms.

Kavitta Ghai
March 14, 2023

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