What are HIPs?
High Impact Practices (or, HIPs) are a collection of strategies for teaching and learning that are supported through research linking them to increased retention, completion, and satisfaction rates of students. When done well, HIPs provide intentional and integrative approaches for learning that encourage transference of skills and the creation of meaningful connections between experiences (Watson, Kuh, Rhodes, Penny Light, & Chen, 2016).
The list below was initially curated by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and has since been reviewed annually by the National Survey of Student Engagement.
Many schools now build into the curriculum first-year seminars or other programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies. First-year seminars can also involve students with cutting-edge questions in scholarship and with faculty members’ own research.
The older idea of a “core” curriculum has evolved into a variety of modern forms, such as a set of required common courses or a vertically organized general education program that includes advanced integrative studies and/or required participation in a learning community. These programs often combine broad themes—e.g., technology and society, global interdependence—with a variety of curricular and cocurricular options for students.
The key goals for learning communities are to encourage integration of learning across courses and to involve students with “big questions” that matter beyond the classroom. Students take two or more linked courses as a group and work closely with one another and with their professors. Many learning communities explore a common topic and/or common readings through the lenses of different disciplines. Some deliberately link “liberal arts” and “professional courses”; others feature service learning.
ePortfolios are the latest addition to AAC&U’s list of high-impact educational practices, and higher education has developed a range of ways to implement them for teaching and learning, programmatic assessment, and career development. ePortfolios enable students to electronically collect their work over time, reflect upon their personal and academic growth, and then share selected items with others, such as professors, advisors, and potential employers. Because collection over time is a key element of the ePortfolio process, employing ePortfolios in collaboration with other high-impact practices provides opportunities for students to make connections between various educational experiences.
In these programs, field-based “experiential learning” with community partners is an instructional strategy—and often a required part of the course. The idea is to give students direct experience with issues they are studying in the curriculum and with ongoing efforts to analyze and solve problems in the community. A key element in these programs is the opportunity students have to both apply what they are learning in real-world settings and reflect in a classroom setting on their service experiences. These programs model the idea that giving something back to the community is an important college outcome, and that working with community partners is good preparation for citizenship, work, and life.
Why use HIPs?
Benefits of HIPs
Students who participate in High Impact Practices have shown evidence of several positive benefits. This was further supported by the findings of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) report published in 2007.
- Increased persistence & GPA
- Deep approaches to learning (richer more lasting connections to materials)
- Higher rates of student-faculty interaction
- Increased critical thinking and writing skills
- Greater appreciation for diversity
- Higher student engagement
(Kuh, 2008) (NSSE, 2007)
Traits of effective HIPs
The associated benefits of High Impact Practices rely heavily on effective implementation. When done well, HIPs include each of the following elements:
- Considerable time and effort requirements for students
- Facilitated learning outside of the classroom (real-world applications and relevance is highlighted)
- Meaningful interactions between faculty and students
- Collaboration across disciplines and cultures (experience diversity)
- Frequent and substantive feedback
- Reflection and integrative learning opportunities
(Kuh, 2008) (Hobbs & Kropp, 2018)
AAC&U – Association of American Colleges & Universities, (2017). High-Impact Educational Practices: A brief overview. Retrieved from https://www.aacu.org/leap/hips
Hobbs, P. and Kropp, E. – Faculty Focus, (2018). Leveraging High-Impact Practices at the Course Level. Retrieved from https://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-and-learning/leveraging-high-impact-practices-at-the-course-level/?st=FFdaily;s=FF181015;utm_term=FF181015&utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Leveraging+High-Impact+Practices+at+the+Course+Level&utm_campaign=FF181015
Kuh, George D. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. AAC&U, Washington, D.C.
NSSE – National Survey of Student Engagement, (2007). High-Impact Practices. Retreived from http://nsse.indiana.edu/html/high_impact_practices.cfm
Watson, C. E., Kuh, G. D., Rhodes, T., Penny Light, T., and Chen, H. L. (2016). Editorial: ePortfolios – The Eleventh High Impact Practice. International Journal of ePortfolio, Vol. 6, No. 2. Retrieved from http://www.theijep.com/pdf/IJEP254.pdf