This is a multi-article format dissertation that explores emotional and cognitive engagement in higher education classrooms. Student engagement in higher education classrooms has been associated with desired outcomes such as academic achievement, retention, and graduation. Student engagement is a multi-faceted concept, consisting of behavioral, emotional, and cognitive components. A deeper understanding of how these components interact would allow instructors and course designers to facilitate more engaging learning experiences for students. The first article is an extended literature review that investigates the extant empirical research on the relationship between emotional and cognitive engagement, and between emotional engagement and academic outcomes in post-secondary classrooms. I find that this topic has been scantily researched in the past 16 years and conclude that the relationship between emotional and cognitive engagement is cyclical, rather than linear, and is influenced by student control appraisals, value appraisals, achievement goals, and the classroom environment. The second article investigates the longitudinal relationship between emotional and cognitive engagement in university blended learning courses across 2 institutions, with 68 students. Using intensive longitudinal data collection and structural equation modeling, I find that course design and student perception variables have a greater influence on engagement than individual student characteristics and that student multitasking has a strong negative influence on engagement. Students' perceptions of the importance of the activity has a strong positive influence on both cognitive and emotional engagement. An important outcome of engagement is the students' perceptions that they were learning and improving. While emotional and cognitive engagement are highly correlated, the results do not indicate that emotional engagement leads to higher levels of cognitive engagement.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


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learner engagement, emotional experience, higher education, blended learning, structural equation models, student experience