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Instructor Concerns and Use of Resources in the Development of Course Materials

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Faculty Development II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.980.1 - 26.980.10



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Paper Authors


Grace Panther Oregon State University

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Grace Panther is a PhD student conducting research in engineering education. More specially focusing on developing course materials based on previous research on common student misconceptions.

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Devlin Montfort Oregon State University


Shane A. Brown P.E. Oregon State University Orcid 16x16

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Shane Brown is an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. His research interests include conceptual change and situated cognition. He received the NSF CAREER award in 2010 and is working on a study to characterize practicing engineers’ understandings of core engineering concepts.

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Instructor Concerns and Use of Resources in the Development and Use of Course MaterialsResearch in engineering education has helped create course materials with proven benefits (forexample helping students develop deeper conceptual understanding), but these materials andother educational innovations are not widely used. This “implementation gap” is a persistentproblem in engineering education. Though it has been argued that instructors should play anactive role in the creation and development of educational interventions to achieve higher ratesof implementation, little research has yet investigated such collaborative development efforts indetail.The purpose of this work is to help address the implementation gap by increasing ourunderstanding of how instructors’ approach new course materials as they participate indeveloping and then implementing them. We observed and recorded a one-and-a-half daymaterials-development workshop consisting of 17 instructors from 14 different institutionsworking in small groups to develop new, research-based course materials. The course materialswere developed in response to research on students’ conceptual understanding of mechanics ofmaterials.The audio and video recordings of the workshop were analyzed using constant comparativecoding and the Concerns-Based Adoption Model (CBAM). CBAM characterizes the process ofadopting new materials as a developmental set of concerns which must be addressed forimplementation to be successful. We additionally coded the instructors’ references to theresources that would be needed or desired in the implementation of the course materials. In ouruse, a “resource” is defined as any personal, structural or material asset whose absence orinsufficiency obstructs pursuit of the instructors’ goals. In CBAM, a “concern” is any thought orfeelings that affects evaluation and planning of curricular activities.The instructors referred to personal, management and consequence concerns as they developedcourse materials. This is significant because consequence concerns (i.e. an emphasis on how theactivities or materials would affect students and learning) typically correspond to an importantshift in how engaged the instructor is with the new course materials.As might be expected, nearly all of the instructors cited time as a concern while several alsomentioned it as a type of resource. Those who cited time as a concern spoke about it in theamount of preparation time required outside of class and use of class time. Interestingly, most ofthe resources mentioned by our participants were beyond their control. For example, manyinstructors discussed the physical environment of their assigned classrooms (e.g. that lecture-hallseating discouraged group work), or the credit hours assigned to their courses (which rangedfrom three to five depending on the institution). The dominant discussion of resources, then, wasin the form of structures that impinged on the instructors’ consequence-concern-based plans.Our findings therefore suggest which specific features of engineering departments may limit theadoption of research-based curricular materials.

Panther, G., & Montfort, D., & Brown, S. A. (2015, June), Instructor Concerns and Use of Resources in the Development of Course Materials Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24317

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