How has Covid-19 shifted how we support, recognise and measure student engagement?

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, the engagement, achievement and progression of a level 4 cohort at a post-92 university in the East of England were explored in collaboration with the student cohort; questioning measurements of engagement (Bassett-Dubsky,2020). Even before Covid-19, students recognised the performative function of such measures. This chapter suggests that available indicators of student engagement have not been fit for purpose during lockdown and online learning and have exposed issues with existing measurements. Pre-lockdown, students in this study viewed both attendance and meeting submission deadlines as a matter for individual choice, such that neither factor may directly indicate engagement. During lockdown, students might engage in a recorded taught session at a time of their individual choosing in ways that support greater engagement but are measured as non-attendance - equated with non-engagement. During Covid, we have appreciated that absence or premature departure may be due to a range of issues, including digital exclusion (Yates, 2020), lack of space at home for work, and inconvenience of session time given lockdown-related responsibilities. If we can be flexible in our interpretation and support of engagement that is not signalled by attendance during Covid, we can continue to be so post-Covid. Similarly, rapid embrace of lecture capture and technology-enabled inclusive pedagogy have brought positives to lockdown learning we may wish to retain, although the role of learner analytics is considered more sceptically. Pre-Covid, the factor seen by the study cohort as most indicative of student engagement was, ‘Determination to progress and achieve’. This chapter suggests that lockdown has altered how we might identify whether a student is determined to progress and achieve, and how we might better appreciate barriers to acting on that determination. This chapter recommends that HEI should retain the Inclusive flexibilities of lockdown learning (Wonkhe & Aula, 2021) that allow student personalisation and extend these flexibilities to our interpretation and recognition (Wong and Chiu, 2020) of subjective student engagements (Parkes et al, 2020).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
PublisherNova Science Publishers
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2021


  • student engagement
  • inclusion
  • Attendance
  • Participation
  • learner analytics
  • lecture capture


Dive into the research topics of 'How has Covid-19 shifted how we support, recognise and measure student engagement?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this