How CS academics view student engagement

Michael Morgan, Neena Thota, Matthew Butler, Jane Sinclair

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


There are several national benchmarks used to measure student engagement, including the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) in the USA and Canada, the Student Experience Survey (SES) in Australia, and the UK Engagement Survey (UKES). For a number of years, the world-wide performance of Computer Science (CS) on these benchmarks and across a range of instruments has been weak and shows little sign of improvement. The weakness of CS ratings is apparent especially when compared to related STEM disciplines that consistently rate more highly on many measures. In order to understand the nature of the problems that result in our own students rating their engagement with their CS studies so poorly, it is essential to understand the perspectives of CS academics on student engagement in general, and how the nature of the CS discipline and CS students relate to engagement issues. Previous work has suggested that CS academics’ views on student engagement differ significantly and that they attempt to address student engagement using a variety of strategies. In this paper, we carry out an in-depth analysis of CS academic perspectives regarding student engagement by analysing 16 interviews conducted with academics from several countries. Since student engagement measures are used by students to make course study decisions, it is important to understand why CS students rate CS courses so poorly and how the views of CS academics feed into this issue.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationITiCSE’18 - Proceedings of the 23rd Annual ACM Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education
Subtitle of host publicationJuly 2–4, 2018 Larnaca, Cyprus
EditorsPanayiotis Andreou, Michal Armoni
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450357074
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education 2018 - Larnaca, Cyprus
Duration: 2 Jul 20184 Jul 2018
Conference number: 23rd (Proceedings)


ConferenceAnnual Conference on Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education 2018
Abbreviated titleITiCSE 2018
Internet address


  • Computing education
  • Higher education
  • Student engagement

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