June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
New Engineering Educators
14.589.1 - 14.589.15
Evaluating Academic Procrastination in a Personalized System of Instruction based Curriculum Abstract
The impact of procrastination on student learning is a common researched topic and correlated with a lack of external/self-regulation, motivation and performance anxiety. Lecture-centric courses provide limited data to measure student procrastination. Projects, homework and midterm deadlines are binary indicators of a tendency to procrastinate. Other evidence is often subjective or anecdotal. In self-paced Personalized System of Instruction (PSI) courses, even these metrics do not exist since students learn material and take tests at their convenience. Yet PSI is an effective teaching strategy in courses such as an introductory programming where students have diverse backgrounds and varied computer literacy. PSI allows individuals to invest the appropriate time without overwhelming new programmers or underwhelming the experienced. Most importantly, a well-designed PSI course can instill time management skills to counter procrastination. Yet, PSI course designs must be evaluated and compared to quantify success. Using a web-based PSI approach, data can be collected and used to quantify procrastination. We present candidate procrastination metrics for comparing student populations, the merits of various teaching strategies, and the impact of course features. Additionally, correlations with traditional metrics (i.e. Grade Point Average (GPA), Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), hours completed, etc.) are examined to determine what external factors – if any – impact procrastination and require normalization for comparative evaluation of course designs.
Procrastination symbolizes deliberate or intentional deferment of a scheduled task, possibly due to limited time before a deadline. The Webster's dictionary defines procrastination as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” Unnecessary and often avoidable anxiety and apprehension are induced when multiple tasks are due. Procrastination amplifies this physical strain if there is fear of failure. While procrastination itself is detrimental in almost all walks of life, it has a more profound impact in academia when students are expected to complete course requirements in a defined amount of time. Potential negative consequences of procrastination are reduced scholastic performance, increased pressure to cheat, mental and physical stress.
Most conventional courses have some indications of procrastination where the concerned instructor relies on test/project/homework performance, attendance, group activity, and personal interactions to gauge an individual's progress on assigned tasks. Based on such indicators and feedback, he/she can take corrective measures deemed necessary to minimize procrastination such as direct communication. However, for a PSI web-based course, the instructor lacks traditional physical presence. Thus, identifying and addressing procrastination is a challenge. In this regard, it is imperative to characterize procrastination using metrics that allow an “online” instructor to evaluate procrastination levels. This paper defines and uses these metrics to evaluate the (hopefully) beneficial impact of various course implementations strategies and features to combat procrastination.
Tadepalli, S., & Booth, C., & Pryor, M. (2009, June), Evaluating Academic Procrastination In A Personalized System Of Instruction Based Curriculum Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5672
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