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Background - Distractions create well-known impediments to student learning. Many researchers have proposed techniques to overcome the challenges associated with distractions in the classroom.
Purpose - Our study investigates instructors’ experiences in using various theories and practices in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) and HSS (Humanities & Social Sciences) classrooms applied in a post-secondary setting. We examine how well the techniques work in practice, investigating questions such as which techniques were most employed, whether instructors perceived improvements in student engagement, and whether instructors plan to use the techniques in the future or advocate the use of the techniques to their colleagues.
Method - We gathered a total of 42 survey responses from instructors across 16 departments reporting on 112 experiences using these techniques. The instructors, who were primarily junior faculty, were participants in a faculty development program over the course of one academic year that discussed the use of counter-distraction techniques proposed as a framework for improving engagement.
Results - Instructors reported that student engagement improved, or stayed about the same, in all reported experiences applying these techniques to reduce distraction. Instructors perceived improved engagement in 82 of the 112 experiences. In fact, for 103 of the 112 experiences, instructors reported that they were likely to use the techniques in their classroom again.
Conclusions – Our analysis of these techniques supports the claim that these practices help address the challenges of distracted students, though we would like to extend the study to more instructors, with increased variety of experiences, across more disciplines, and covering the full gamut of presented techniques.


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