Abstract:Without engaging the students effectively, the likelihood of success in any particular teaching format is questionable. Engagement in the classroom or lecture theatre is a joint negotiation between student and faculty. Students should be provided with the environment to play an active part in meeting desired learning outcomes. This can in part be achieved by educational institutions investing in the student through providing appropriate educational practices and conditions to create a positive and active learning environment, thus facilitating student engagement in the learning process. Student engagement is complex and involves a number of variables, including those that affect the potential for learning success (Horstmanshof & Zimitat, 2007). Student engagement is particularly important in the Chinese higher educational context, where large classes are the norm. This is particularly the case in transnational educational (TNE) institutions, where students may not only be in large classes, but also learning in a second or foreign language. This paper draws on one of the findings from an internally funded teaching development project that investigated engagement issues associated with a multidisciplinary business module delivered to year 2 students at an English speaking university in Suzhou, China. Large classes have become increasingly common as the university continues to expand, especially in student intensive disciplines such as those found in the Business School at the university. Mulryan-Kyne (2010) suggests that increases in class size at university bring new issues and problems, including increases in staff: student ratios, and resultant lack of contact with lecturers and tutors, leading to a return to passive teaching methods and learning. Using a content analysis from data collected through focus groups of students associated with the module, an 'Introduction to Organisation and Management', as well as staff teaching on the module and from the wider and business school, a number of themes have been identified. These can be broadly categorized as being related to innovative use of technology in the lecture room; enriching educational delivery; and faculty presentability. The current paper concentrates on the use of personal response systems, or 'clickers', which the student focus groups identified as being beneficial in large classes. The literature suggests that clickers can have positive benefits for promoting active learning (Hinde and Hunt, 2006; Patry, 2009) and promoting teacher: student engagement (Roschelle et al, 2004), encourage critical thinking during class (Cooper and Robinson, 2000) and that there may be some positive correlation between use of clickers and assessment (Morling et al, 2008). Less positive reactions include the 'gimmick effect' where there seems to be no clear rationale for the learning value of 'clickers' beyond the sake of using it (Simpson and Oliver, 2006), and possible increased student anxiety (Johnson and McLeod, 2004). This paper discusses how the student experience of 'clickers' in the Chinese and TNE context reflects the literature. Drawing on personal experience of how my own teaching practices have been informed by the research, it concludes by providing pointers for future successful engagement in this unique context.