How To Improve Student Involvement in STEM Courses

How To Improve Student Involvement in STEM Courses
  • Opening Intro -

    Interest in STEM fields can lead to a successful, lucrative career for your students.

    Unfortunately, many young minds are reluctant to pursue an interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

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Some even experience negative or discouraging situations involving STEM that turn them away from the field. How can educators better serve their STEM students and retain their interest?

There are several ways to approach the problem, both on and off your campus. By providing support and opportunities throughout a student’s career, educators create a more welcoming and encouraging environment for their students to explore.

Discover how to improve student involvement in STEM courses throughout your university and surrounding community with these ideas.

Build Solid Outreach Strategies

Many students—especially women—shy away from STEM courses entirely due to early impressions that they’re bad at science and math.

This can come from a poor experience in early education, negative societal influences, or even a simple lack of opportunities.

If you want to increase student involvement in STEM for years to come, you can start by building a foundation in young minds throughout your community.

This also presents great opportunities for your current STEM students.

Connect with local school districts to create opportunities such as tutoring programs and science fairs.

Current STEM students can pursue their interests while fostering a love of science, research, and discovery in the next generation of students.

Providing Career-Relevant Opportunities

If your students don’t have a way to pursue STEM interests outside the classroom, they’re not going to be as dedicated to the subject inside the classroom. Make sure the knowledge you give your students applies to more than just their time in the classroom or the assignments they take home.

Work with your students to connect them to relevant internships, mentorships, research programs, and other opportunities. Hold seminars or research fairs to give students experience in presenting and sharing work in a professional setting. You can also create networking opportunities by hosting workshops or presentations from experts in the field.

Encourage Classmate Communication and Connection

The student who hangs out alone at the back of the room will be far less invested than the student who is friends with their lab partner and holds a study group with other classmates. When looking for ways to improve student involvement in STEM courses, spend some time encouraging teamwork and collaboration within your classroom.

While you don’t want to rely too much on group projects, setting up opportunities for teamwork can help your students encourage each other throughout the semester. Consider setting these groups up across different classes as well; upperclassmen can lead tutoring groups for entry-level courses, workshops can bring students from various courses together, and so on.

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Prioritize Interest in Research

Research is one of the most exciting ways for students to flex their STEM muscles. It also lays the groundwork for successful ideas and careers in your students’ futures.

When establishing your coursework, be sure to include and prioritize different ways to involve students in research. By providing ample research opportunities both in and out of your coursework, you encourage your students to come up with ideas, processes, and results on their own.

Research projects require a hands-on approach that can spark a more personal interest in the subject. They can also create incredible networking or publishing opportunities for the students who are beginning to pursue a career in STEM.

Image Credit: ways to improve student involvement in STEM courses by envato.com

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