National survey finds NYU-Poly strong in active and collaborative learning

According to findings from a national survey of first-year and senior students, one of Polytechnic Institute of NYU’s greatest strengths is its active and collaborative learning environment.

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSEE, pronounced “Nessie”), a long-term research initiative which has been conducting its yearly survey of college and university students since 2000, released the findings on November 10.

NSEE surveyed 380,000 randomly selected first-year and senior students at 722 four-year colleges and universities in 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. It asked 82 questions in 5 major “benchmark” areas: Level of Academic Challenge, Active and Collaborative Learning, Student-Faculty Interaction, Enriching Educational Experiences, and Supportive Campus Environment.

Four out of 10 of NYU-Poly’s highest results compared to respondents at other schools (“NSSE Sample”) were in the category of Active and Collaborative Learning:

First-Year Students
Percent of students who made a class presentation
NYU-Poly: 68%; NSSE Sample: 33%

Percent of students who worked with other students on projects during class
NYU-Poly: 66%; NSSE Sample: 43%

Percent of students who tutored or taught other students (paid or voluntary)
NYU-Poly: 33%; NSSE Sample: 16%

Percent of students who tutored or taught other students (paid or voluntary)
NYU-Poly: 44%; NSSE Sample: 22%

“Students learn more when they are intensely involved in their education and are asked to think about and apply what they are learning in different settings,” notes NSEE in its explanation of active and collaborative learning.

“Collaborating with others in solving problems or mastering difficult material prepares students to deal with the messy, unscripted problems they will encounter daily, both during and after college.”

Iraj Kalkhoran, dean of undergraduate academics, commented on the survey results: “An active and collaborative learning environment is especially critical for our engineering, technology, and science students. Being able to explain highly-technical and complicated concepts to peers not only reinforces classroom work, but it also prepares students to be efficient communicators in diverse working environments where they’ll encounter experts, novices, and everyone in between.”

Dr. Kalkhoran also noted the importance of active and collaborative learning in regards to NYU-Poly’s invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship (i2e) vision. “In order to invent and innovate, students need to have an extremely deep understanding of what they’re learning so they can imagine new and advanced applications.”

Additional survey highlights:

82% of NYU-Poly seniors wrote at least one paper or report of 20 pages or more compared to 50% of the NSSE Sample group

80% of NYU-Poly seniors had serious conversations with students of another race or ethnicity compared to 54% of the NSSE Sample group

60% of NYU-Poly first-year students positively rated their relationships with administrative personnel and offices compared to 54% of the NSSE Sample group


A Note about Respondents:
NYU-Poly First-Year Students: 123 respondents; Sampling Error +/-7.7%
NYU-Poly Seniors: 70 respondents; Sampling Error +/-10.5%

View a list of all NSSE 2008 participating institutions