June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Continuing Professional Development
This study examines the impact of an NSF-funded professional development program on instructors’ attitudes towards, and use of, student-centered learning practices in engineering undergraduate courses. The project launched during spring 2016 and involves promoting communities of practice within engineering disciplines and delivering a series of train-the-trainer workshops to the engineering faculty. The workshops strongly promote tenets of student-centered learning and active engagement practices in the classroom.
As part of the overall program evaluation, pre- and post-assessments have been administered throughout the workshop series. Since self-reported practices can be biased, classroom observations (both pre- and post-observations) were also conducted to determine actual classroom practices of the instructors. For the purpose of this study we focus on the comparison of beliefs about student-centered instruction and observed practices. Specifically, this is a point-in-time analysis of the relationship between beliefs and use of active learning practices in the classroom.
Beliefs were assessed with the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI). The ATI is a survey that measures the extent of faculty teaching beliefs toward teacher-centered (TC) knowledge transmission vs. student-centered (SC) conceptual change. While the ATI measured beliefs, the degree to which classroom practices were student-centered was assessed via classroom visits by trained observers using the Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP). The RTOP is a classroom observation protocol that was designed specifically for STEM classrooms and it allows observers to quantify the degree of student-centered teaching and learning occurring during a lesson.
Results indicated a moderate, positive correlation (r= 0.458, p < 0.05) existed between average ATI SC scores and overall RTOP scores. This implies that beliefs did indeed manifest in the engineering classrooms, although the relationship was not considered particularly strong. Correspondingly, no significant relationship existed between mean ATI teacher-centered scores and overall RTOP scores. Further analysis of the relationships between attitudes towards student-centered and teacher-centered teaching practices (as measured by ATI) with the five dimensions of RTOP (e.g., communicative interactions, student/teacher relationships) are explored in the full paper.
Ross, L., & Judson, E., & Krause, S. J., & Ankeny, C. J., & Culbertson, R. J., & Hjelmstad, K. D. (2017, June), Relationships Between Engineering Faculty Beliefs and Classroom Practices Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28793
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