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Work-in-Progress: Using Role-playing as a Training Technique for Faculty

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Computers in Education Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1497.1 - 25.1497.7



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Paper Authors


Shreya Kothaneth Virginia Tech

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Shreya Kothaneth is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. She also serves as the Instructional Technology Team Lead with the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Her research interests include acceptance of technology, cultural ergonomics, usability, and accessibility.

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Ashley Robinson Virginia Tech

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Ashley Robinson is a computer science doctoral student at Virginia Tech. She has been working with the Instructional Technology team at Virginia Tech since 2010, where she provides faculty and student assistance on tablet PC integration in the higher education classroom.

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Catherine T. Amelink Virginia Tech

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Catherine T. Amelink, Ph.D. is a Research Analyst and Assessment Specialist, Dean's Office, College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. She has served in a variety of assessment related positions both at Virginia Tech and University of Maryland, University College. Her degree is in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech.

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Using Role-Playing as a Training Technique for FacultyThe learning and teaching environment has been greatly affected by a combination of constantlyevolving technology and the fact that the majority of current student populations in highereducation are „Millenials‟, born in or after 1982. They have an affinity to new technologies andregard them as a natural part of their environment (Strauss & Howe, 2000). Therefore, it isimportant for faculty members to start adopting new instructional technology to provide theirstudents with an effective learning environment, which could be a challenge without adequatetraining.The College of Engineering (COE) at XYZ started a tablet PC Initiative in 2006 which requiresall incoming engineering freshmen to purchase a tablet PC for use in the classroom. Previousfocus group interviews of students indicated that they were unhappy with the way that professorswere using the tablet PC in the classroom, citing low usage and ineffective deployment of tabletfeatures. To help train faculty members to use the tablet PC effectively, the COE developed theInstructional Technology (IT) Team which focused on providing free training to interestedfaculty members. Initially, the training modules were designed to be like a typical lecture.Feedback from faculty members indicated that they were sometimes overwhelmed by the amountof new information and features, resulting in the training modules often having an adverse effect.To prevent this, the IT team divided their classes into two halves. The first half used a typicallecture type training module, with one instructor and several „students‟. The second half groupedparticipants into small groups/pairs and allowed them to take turns role-playing as the instructorand student. To measure the effectiveness of this type of training module, a pilot study of 7participants was conducted during two separate training sessions using DyKnow classroomsoftware. Each session was taught by a different instructor. The study employed the „SystemUsability Scale‟ which is a 10-item Likert scale to provide a low-cost, reliable scale to assesssystem usability (Brooke, 1996). The questionnaire was administered twice, once at the end ofthe first half (lecture-type), and second, at the end of the second half (role-playing). While thestudy is still in its initial stages, the analysis of the data collected so far, shows a change inperception of the usability of the software after the second half of the training module.Participants seem to find the software more usable once they have had a chance to try it outthemselves. It is also important to note that during the role-playing portion of the trainingmodule, participants both received and gave assistance to their partners, which might havehelped in their understanding of the system. The findings are consistent with the principles ofKnowles‟ Adult Learning Theory (1996) which suggests that adults need to take part in groupactivities to enhance their learning experience by solving problems and “doing” a task rather thanjust learning how to do it. The IT team now plans to administer the questionnaire across different training classes (withdifferent instructional technology) to see if the trend persists across technologies.ReferencesBrooke, J. (1996). SUS: A Quick and Dirty Usability Scale. In: P.W. Jordan, B. Thomas, B.A.Weerdmeester & I.L. McClelland (Eds.), Usability Evaluation in Industry. London: Taylor &Francis. Chin, J. P.,Knowles, M. (1996). Adult Learning. In Robert L. Craig (Ed.), The ASTD Training andDevelopment Handbook (pp. 253-264). NY: McGraw-Hill.Strauss, W., & Howe, N. (2000). Millennials rising: The next great generation. New York:Vintage Books.

Kothaneth, S., & Robinson, A., & Amelink, C. T. (2012, June), Work-in-Progress: Using Role-playing as a Training Technique for Faculty Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22254

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