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A Pedagogical Borderland? Comparing Student and Faculty Attitudes and Actions About Teaching and Learning

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Works in Progress: Faculty Perspectives and Training

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Edward J. Berger Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Edward Berger is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, joining Purdue in August 2014. He has been teaching mechanics for nearly 20 years, and has worked extensively on the integration and assessment of specific technology interventions in mechanics classes. He was one of the co-leaders in 2013-2014 of the ASEE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for mechanics educators across the country.

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Ryan R. Senkpeil Purdue Engineering Education

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Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Purdue University. My research interests include: non-cognitive factors and their impact on student academic performance, non-cognitive factors and engineering student retention, and personalized intervention design.

I have previous research experience in engineering education working with first year engineering teams and analyzing peer evaluation comments. I also have experience in solar physics research through the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

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Elizabeth K. Briody Ph.D. Cultural Keys LLC

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I am a cultural anthropologist whose areas of expertise include work culture and organizational-culture change. I founded Cultural Keys LLC in 2009, a consulting firm specializing in improving organizational effectiveness, and understanding and reaching customers. I have consulted in a wide variety of industries including health care, apparel, insurance, and automotive. Prior to that, I worked for many years at General Motors R&D, first as a Senior Research Scientist and ultimately as a Technical Fellow. Two of my recent books are The Cultural Dimension of Global Business (with G. Ferraro – 2013, 7th ed., Pearson) and Transforming Culture (with R.T. Trotter, II and T.L. Meerwarth – 2014, Palgrave).

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Edward F. Morrison Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Ed Morrison is Regional Economic Development Advisor for the Center for Regional Development at Purdue University. Ed has been developing a new approach to developing strategies for complex collaboration in open, loosely connected networks. Called “strategic doing”, this methodology emphasizes the strategic value of collaboration in today's global economy.
For over twenty-five years, he conducted strategy projects throughout the U.S. His work won the first Arthur D. Little Award for excellence in economic development presented by the American Economic Development Council.
Prior to starting his economic development work, Ed worked for Telesis, a corporate strategy consulting firm. In this position, he served on consulting teams for clients such as Ford Motor Company, Volvo, and General Electric. He conducted manufacturing cost studies in the U.S., Japan, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Sweden, and France.
Ed started his professional career in Washington, D.C., where he has served as a legislative assistant to an Ohio Congressman, staff attorney in the Federal Trade Commission, and staff counsel in the US Senate. He holds a BA degree cum laude with honors from Yale University and MBA and JD degrees from the University of Virginia.

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This Work in Progress paper describes early results from a new research study on differences in attitudes and actions between students and instructors, and their impact on academic outcomes. In anthropology, a ‘borderland’ is a physical or metaphorical region in which two cultures, ideas, or sets of values meet and interact, with a new borderland culture (related to, but distinct from, either of the two original cultures) emerging as a result. This research seeks to characterize the pedagogical borderland of a higher education engineering classroom, into which students and faculty bring a set of attitudes, beliefs, history and so forth that drive their behaviors and choices in the learning environment—and of course influence student academic outcomes as well. For students who consented to participate in this study (ns = 317), we delivered the 44-item Felder-Soloman Index of Learning Styles (ILS), the 10-item Big Five personality inventory, the 8-item grit survey, the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) 13-item subscale on study skills and test anxiety, and we also obtained their academic transcript and admissions data. For faculty who consented (nf = 33), we delivered the 44-item ILS, the 16-item Approaches to Teaching Inventory, and a 19-item pedagogical inventory that asks faculty to indicate their level of awareness and use of specific pedagogical tools (active learning approaches, lecturing, think-pair-share, etc.) in their teaching. For a particular sophomore-level course, we matched ILS scores of students with that of their instructor in the course, and calculated an ILS mismatch score between the students and their instructor across all four ILS sub-scales. Our hypothesis was that misalignment between faculty and student ILS scores would result in worse academic outcomes for students, even when controlling for prior performance in an important prerequisite course. This hypothesis captures a kind of classroom borderland phenomenon in which students and instructors bring a wide set of beliefs and attitudes about teaching and learning, and attempt to resolve them. Our preliminary results suggest this hypothesis to be true, although only weakly so. The entire picture of student performance is much more complicated, and this paper explores other student and instructor factors (including differences between instructor learning preferences [ILS] and teaching beliefs [ATI]) that help explain an individual student’s course grade.

Berger, E. J., & Senkpeil, R. R., & Briody, E. K., & Morrison, E. F. (2016, June), A Pedagogical Borderland? Comparing Student and Faculty Attitudes and Actions About Teaching and Learning Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26388

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