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Work in Progress: Understanding how Action Modes® can Help or Hinder Students in Self-paced Courses

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

First-Year Programs: Tuesday 5-Minute Work-in-Progress Postcard Session

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First-Year Programs

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Paper Authors


Khushikumari Patel Clemson University

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Khushi Patel is an Engineering and Science Education graduate student at Clemson University. She received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry with a minor in secondary education from Millsaps College. She also holds a secondary license to teacher chemistry and general science for middle and high schools in the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. She received her master’s degree in chemistry from Tennessee State University.

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Claire L. A. Dancz Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Claire L.A. Dancz is a Research Assistant Professor at Clemson University. Dr. Dancz's research interests include developing active, experiential-learning activities on topics of NAE Engineering Grand Challenges, UN Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability for civil engineers, and assessment of student-learning outcomes and motivation towards these topics, with emphasis on online platforms for delivering these educational opportunities and service-oriented engineering programs in which students can take actions towards these topics. As a Kolbe™ Certified Consultant, Dr. Dancz uses conative assessment to empower individuals with diverse problem-solving instincts to improve productivity, communication, leadership, and impact the diversity of engineers as global change-makers.

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Eliza Gallagher Clemson University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Gallagher is an Assistant Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with joint appointments to Mathematical Sciences and Education & Human Development. Her research interests include student cognition in mathematics, development of teacher identity among graduate teaching assistants, curricular reform to foster diversion and inclusion, and development of mathematical knowledge for teaching.

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Charity Watson

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Nationwide, a surge in students who are under-prepared for collegiate mathematics has left institutions struggling to meet the needs of these learners. Many schools have moved to online or hybrid instructional models for developmental mathematics. These models work very well for many students, but not at all for others. At Clemson University, all STEM majors who are not yet calculus ready take precalculus under a self-paced hybrid course model that includes an asynchronous online component using ALEKS® (Assessment and LEarning in Knowledge Spaces) and a face-to-face component with targeted direct instruction in small groups.

The ALEKS® software allows students to master objectives at their own pace following an individualized learning path. One lens for understanding why some students struggle in hybrid courses is to observe how a student approaches a task. The Kolbe A™ Index measures an individual’s conation, his/her method of operation when given the flexibility to choose how to approach a task. In the hybrid precalculus course at Clemson University, each student works independently on the self-paced component and can be assumed to follow his/her natural instincts for task completion.

The objective of this study is to use a third-party assessment of conation to predict at the start of the semester which students will struggle in the hybrid model course and, ultimately, to offer recommendations on how to help these students complete such courses. This study focuses on the correlation between Kolbe A™results and student performance in hybrid precalculus to determine if certain conative categories are particularly well-suited or poorly-suited to this course model. We report preliminary data from a Fall 2016 pilot study and discuss next steps to predict which students are “at risk” on the basis of Kolbe A™ results.

Patel, K., & Dancz, C. L. A., & Gallagher, E., & Watson, C. (2017, June), Work in Progress: Understanding how Action Modes® can Help or Hinder Students in Self-paced Courses Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29186

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