The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Student Engagement in Hybrid Taught Large Introduction Courses during COVID-19

Kamilla Klonowska, Kristianstad University (Sweden)

Eric Zhi Chen, Kristianstad University (Sweden)

Indira Kjellstrand, Kristianstad University (Sweden)

Lisa Källström, Kristianstad University (Sweden)

Per Siljeklint, Kristianstad University (Sweden)

Felix Terman, Kristianstad University (Sweden)


To build student engagement and belonging early in the education is crucial for retention and student success. Since the COVID-19 outbreak, universities worldwide were forced to seek for alternative and complementary teaching approaches. In Sweden, universities adopted hybrid teaching since the end of the spring in 2020. The traditional face-to-face teaching facilitates immediate, real-time engagement with activities such as discussion and instant interaction between instructors and students and/or among students which encourages active learning, while an online teaching allows the students to watch videos and read requested materials many times, to complete the assignments at their suitable time and place, to enable good discussion and interaction via online forum and messaging. A hybrid approach combines the advantages of both face-to-face and online approaches. Research shows several challenges with online teaching, for examples, students´ engagement [1], communication between student(s) and teacher(s) [2], connection with/within the group, study groups, study buddies [3] as well as social engagement [4]. When a hybrid approach is applied to the First-Year courses due to the COVID-19, these challenges might have even more serious implications on the retention and success. This study explores two successful cases of how active learning, togetherness and engagement can be created among First-Year students. The study is based on two large introductory courses for the first-year students in Computer Science and in Business Administration at Kristianstad University, Sweden. Both programmes provide the Introduction courses for larger number of students (135 respective 195 students). Various methods and tools were used in the course design to engage students and create an active learning [5] environment using the hybrid approach. The results and experience were also presented. We experienced that students had actively participated in the arranged activities and the course passing rate was higher compared with the face-to-face teaching. The course evaluation also showed that the students were satisfied with course contents and various course activities.

Keywords: Student Engagement, Active learning, First Year Experience, Hybrid Education.


  1. Lee R, Dashew B. Designed learner interactions in blended course delivery. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks. 2011 February; 15(1): p. 68-76.
  2. MacLeod J, Yang HH, Shi Y. Student to student connectedness in higher education. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. 2019; 31(2): p. 426-448.
  3. Bencito GRL, Dabu FN, Santiago Jr. CS. Development and Evaluation of Study-Buddy Pairing Application for Android. Journal of Environmental Science, Computer Science and Engineering & Technology. 2020 March; 9(2): p. 230-237.
  4. Geerling W, Wooten J, Thomas N. Facilitating Student Connections and Study Partners During Periods of Remote and Online Learning. SSRN Electronic Journal. 2020 September.
  5. Prince, M. (2004). Does active learning work? A review of the research. Journal of engineering education, 93(3), 223-231.

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