High impact practices (HIPs) are educational opportunities that have been shown to improve student retention, grades and graduation rates. Designed from George Kuh’s original findings from his work with the large datasets of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), these practices include first-year seminars, common intellectual experiences, learning communities, writing-intensive courses, collaborative projects, undergraduate research, diversity/global learning, service-learning, internships, and capstone courses. Studies have indicated that participation in these practices can have a pronounced effect on the academic experiences of historically underserved students and could improve equitable outcomes across the institution. Through participation in multiple well-designed and accessible HIPs, students are able to connect knowledge they learn in the classroom to their lives, purposefully interact with those who are different from them, strengthen their relationships with faculty, and they report deeper learning experiences as a result.
L. Dee Fink has proposed a set of five “High Impact Teaching Practices” that incorporate the lessons from the research on HIPs. These practices are:

  1. Helping students become meta-learners
  2. Learning-centered course design
  3. Using small groups in a powerful way
  4. Service learning/community engagement – with reflection
  5. Being a leader with your students

Incorporating these practices in your classroom brings structure and guidance to learning for your students and will help to build important relationships that improve mindset and attitude about the content. In the new remote learning context, students report feelings of isolation and a lack of motivation regarding their studies. Weaving these practices creatively into your remote approaches may stimulate online relationships that could lead to the deeper learning experiences that HIPs encourage. 

Further reading & resources

George D. Kuh, High-Impact Educational Practices: What They Are, Who Has Access to Them, and Why They Matter. (Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges and Universities, 2008). 

 High-Impact Practices from National Survey of Student Engagement

A Comprehensive Approach to Assessment of High-Impact Practices

L. Dee Fink, Five High Impact Teaching Practices, Collected Essays on Teaching and Learning, Vol IX: 3-18