New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
This research paper explores resistant behaviors exhibited by science, technology, engineering, education, and mathematics (STE2M) students required to participate in an online discussion forum for graded credit in undergraduate calculus. Student resistance is often highlighted as one of the least explored and, perhaps, least understood of all instructional roadblocks to active learning. Efforts to understand these behaviors may be complicated by context and viewpoint; students may view their own “resistant” behaviors differently than instructors do. Moreover, the reasons why students refrain from asynchronous, web-based active learning opportunities (e.g., online discussion forums) may differ from the reasons why students resist active learning within a physical classroom.
During two recent, sequential academic semesters, researchers gathered qualitative and quantitative data related to student use of the online forum in Calculus I (fall 2014) and Calculus II (spring 2015). The same calculus instructor delivered both courses via synchronous broadcast (interactive video conferencing) to students located throughout the state at several regional university sites. Students were required to post their questions and/or answers to other students’ questions on a weekly basis for graded participation credit. Posting requirements were designed to encourage collaborative learning and peer-instruction among the geographically dispersed students, as well as to improve the frequency and timeliness of the out-of-class support the students received.
Employing a concurrent, embedded, mixed methods research design, the researchers gathered several forms of data including textual forum posts, posting statistics, survey responses, and transcribed student interviews. The researchers conducted an exploratory thematic analysis of the combined dataset to understand how and why students resisted participation in the forum. Results of the study describe the resistant behaviors exhibited by the students within the web-based forum and their associated rationales. Conclusions provide recommendations for instructors interested in using online discussion forums as an active learning strategy for STE2M undergraduates.
Harkness, D. S., & Minichiello, A., & Marquit, J. (2016, June), Exploring Nontraditional Undergraduates' Resistance to Active Learning in an Online Support Forum in Calculus Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26855
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