No signal: removing barriers to student engagement

An interactive online workshop, 09:00-13:00, 19 March

This practical workshop will explore how business schools can support the retention, progression and attainment of students who have been disadvantaged or marginalised by the shift to remote learning.

In recent years business schools have moved away from solely face-to-face learning & teaching towards a blended approach that incorporates online learning. Covid-19 has accelerated this trend exponentially and whilst there are tangible benefits of remote learning it is equally true that it has marginalised some students.

By the end of the workshop participants will:

  • Have a deeper understanding about how student engagement has been influenced by the rise of remote learning prior to, and since, Covid-19.
  • More awareness of the barriers that some students face in engaging with remote learning
  • Have ideas and strategies by which to re-engage with those students who are marginalised by remote learning


About CMBE Events

Our series of CMBE Events are open to all educators. They have been designed with CMBEs in mind, to support them achieve their professional development goals.

By attending this event, CMBEs can claim up to 4 units (hours) towards their annual CPD commitment.

9.00 Welcome and introductions

Dr Cathy Minett-Smith CMBE, Associate Head Student Experience, University of West of England, Workshop Chair

9.10 Session 1

What are the new challenges to student engagement following the shift to remote learning? Exploring technological, environmental, locational and behavioural challenges.

Professor Debra Leighton CMBE, Fellow Chartered Association of Business Schools


Barriers to student engagement – are they new? Visible and invisible barriers. Measures of engagement beyond data analytics. 

Dr Cathy Minett-Smith CMBE

10.10 Group Activity 1

Since the shift to remote learning, what does student engagement in online spaces looks like? To what extent is engagement inclusive and where is the evidence? How does disadvantage manifest itself ?

Dr Cathy Minett-Smith CMBE and Professor Debra Leighton CMBE

10.45 break

11.00 Section 2

Engaging with silent voices- strategies for re-engagement and re-invention. Serendipity spaces.

Dr Cathy Minett-Smith CMBE


Ethical and legal perspectives. Planning to achieve and evidence success.

Professor Debra Leighton CMBE

12.00 Group Activity 2

a)In your current role, how can you develop/contribute to strategies to address ‘no signal’?

b)What will success look like ?

Dr Cathy Minett-Smith CMBE and Professor Debra Leighton CMBE

12.30 Plenary

13.00 Close


Professor Debra Leighton
Professor in Management Practice
University of Bedfordshire Business School

Professor Debra Leighton CMBE is Professor of Management Practice and has recently become Senior Adviser for the EFMD’s Business School Impact System (BSIS). Formerly Executive Dean at University of Bedfordshire Business School and more recently Interim Dean at Coventry, Debra has held a number of leadership roles in the Business School sector.  She has been actively involved with the Chartered ABS for the past ten years, including acting as Small Business Charter advisor and leading the Chartered ABS ‘Leaders in Learning and Teaching’ development programme  between 2017-19. She was awarded Fellowship of the Chartered Association of Business Schools  in 2019 in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the work of business schools in the UK.

Dr Cathy Minnett-Smith
Associate Dean for Learning, Teaching & Student Experience, Faculty of Business and Law
University of   the West of England

Fee: £30

This workshop is open to both members and non-members of the Chartered ABS.

Paying by invoice? Make sure you provide a valid Purchase Order Number when you make your booking.

Pay your CMBE subscription with your booking

Don't forget, you can pay for your annual CMBE subscription when you register for the workshop. Once your submitted application has been approved, make sure you're logged in to the Chartered ABS website and register for the workshop via this page by selecting the option that includes your CMBE subscription fee.

About the CMBE

The CMBE gives business and management educators a recognised professional designation and a framework for continuous professional development. The scheme supports educators to further develop their teaching practice and helps to advance the quality of business and management education in higher education.

Become a CMBE

If you’re not yet a CMBE, join a worldwide movement of educators committed to developing their teaching practice.

You will benefit from:

  • The CMBE designation after your name
  • Support for your continuing professional development
  • A framework to support your future career development
  • Access a community and opportunities to contribute to knowledge

Find out more and apply here. 

What's more, you can pay for your annual CMBE subscription when you register for a Chartered ABS event. For details, see the Fees tab.

Already a CMBE? Meeting your CPD commitment

If you're a CMBE, you can claim 2.5 hours (units) towards your CPD commitment by attending this event.

Find out more about meeting your CPD commitment here, and view the CPD activities table here.


If you have any questions please email Pritika Pau at