The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…

Examples of Practical Implications for Teaching and Learning from Recently Published SoTL Research

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Compiled by Kathleen McKinney, Illinois State University (Note: these excerpts are direct quotes from the published abstracts.)*

In this blog post, I offer the actual abstracts (and citations) of four recently published SoTL studies that offer explicit potential implications of the results for the teaching and learning of/by other faculty and students. These abstracts are intended simply as examples of diverse SoTL projects and of possible implications for our classrooms.

Student Perceptions of a Form-Based Approach to Reflective Journaling

“The author describes the principal findings of a survey study looking at student perceptions of a new form-based approach to reflective journaling. A form-based journal assignment was developed for use in introductory lecture courses and tested over a two-year period in an Honors General Chemistry course for engineers with a total of 157 first-year students. The form contains a series of written prompts for which students supplied short answers to help them own their learning, identify and articulate their needs in the course, and identify possible solutions to improve their performance in the course. Perceived benefits from student self-reports include improved course performance, identification of problems that by their own admission the students likely would not have identified otherwise, increased course attentiveness, and increased motivation to seek assistance from their instructor and/or other local resources. Benefits to the instructor include the ability to provide timely feedback and assistance to large groups of students at several key intervention points over the course of the semester.”

Mabrouk, P. A. (2015). “Student Perceptions of a Form-Based Approach to Reflective Journaling.” The Journal of Excellence in College Teaching. Vol. 26, 2.

Using Reading Guides and On-line Quizzes to Improve Reading Compliance and Quiz Scores

“This study compared students’ daily in-class reading quiz scores in an introductory Child Development course across five conditions: control, reading guide only, reading guide and on-line practice quiz, reading guide and on-line graded quiz, and reading guide and both types of on-line quizzes. At the beginning of class, students completed a 5-item quiz over the assigned readings. With the exception of the control section, all students had access to an instructor-designed reading guide for each of the 20 assigned readings. Results revealed that reading guides significantly increased student learning as demonstrated by increased scores on the in-class reading quizzes, with marginal additional gains when practice quizzes were also utilized. The addition of on-line graded quizzes resulted in lower scores on in-class quizzes. Results held even after multiple subsidiary analyses controlling for time spent studying. These findings suggest that reading guides may be a valuable study aid for improving student learning.”

Maurer, Trent W. and Longfield, Judith (2015) “Using Reading Guides and On-line Quizzes to Improve Reading Compliance and Quiz Scores,” International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 9: No. 1, Article 6.

Student Management Teams Increase College Students’ Feelings of Autonomy in the Classroom

“The use of Student Management Teams (SMTs) is a relatively new teaching technique designed to increase students’ motivation and involvement with the planning and execution of college courses. However, to date, little systematic, empirical research has validated the effectiveness of using SMTs. To test the effectiveness of this technique, the current research utilized a pretest–posttest paradigm consisting of two courses taught by the same professor (both Social Psychology courses). In one course, the professor implemented a SMT; the other course served as a control comparison. Results revealed that students in the course with the SMT increased their feelings of autonomy relative to students in the control comparison course. Implications for teaching techniques and their potential impact on student motivation are discussed.”

Troisi, Jordan D. (2015). “Student Management Teams Increase College Students’ Feelings of Autonomy in the Classroom.” College Teaching, Vol. 63, 2, 83-89.

Training final year students in data presentation skills with an iterative report-feedback cycle

“Although practical laboratory activities are often considered the linchpin of science education, asking students to produce many large practical reports can be problematic Practical reports require diverse skills, and therefore do not focus the students’ attention on any one skill. They are also time-consuming to write and mark, limiting the speed at which feedback can be returned. To refocus students specifically on the skills of data presentation and interpretation I asked the students to produce a results figure, as would be found in a journal article, one for each of four practical topics. The students found this a challenge, but their skills improved markedly over the semester due to an efficient feedback cycle. Students were very engaged with this assessment, as it caused them to re-consider what they understood about the results of the practical. As this assessment is a small focused version of a practical report, it allows faster marking and return of practicals, and reduces the proportion of marks allocated to practicals, allowing more marks to be allocated to other components of the unit/class such as exams. This is therefore a successful method of focusing students’ attention on presenting and interpreting practical results, in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

Verkade, Heather. (2015). “Training Final Year Students in Data Presentation Skills with an Iterative Report-feedback Cycle.”Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Vol.15, 2. 70-82.

*Bolding of text added by compiler.



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