The SoTL Advocate

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

New Volume of Gauisus Published

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The fifth volume of Gauisus, ISU’s internal, multimedia SoTL publication was published today. This volume features the work of 26 Redbirds (13 faculty and 13 students) across six departments/schools. Work in this volume is organized into two tracks: SoTL Research and Scholarly Approaches to Teaching. The Scholarly Approaches to Teaching track is new to this volume and represents an effort to highlight application of SoTL research to inform decision-making. Abstracts and hyperlinks for each article can be found below.

The call for Volume 6 of Gauisus is now open. Past volumes of Gauisus can be accessed here. Happy reading!

 

TRACK: SoTL Research
Math Anxiety Among First-Year Graduate Students in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Jamie Mahurin Smith • Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Students in allied health fields use math for a variety of tasks in their classes and in the field. Math anxiety can interfere with completion of these tasks; no published reports describe the prevalence or extent of math anxiety in this population. Two cohorts of first-year graduate students in communication sciences and disorders (CSD; n = 73) used the modified Fennema-Sherman Mathematics Attitude Survey to evaluate their own math ability and math anxiety. For many of the survey items, a strongly bimodal response pattern was observed. Across both cohorts, one group of students felt confident and competent with regard to math-related tasks, while another group reported anxiety and doubt. The presence of strongly divergent feelings about course material may present challenges for instructors and students alike. Potential responses are discussed.
Acquiring Global Competencies at Illinois State University
Maria Schmeeckle, Editor • Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Our “Senior Experience” research capstone class sought to answer the following question: “What types of global competencies are college seniors acquiring at Illinois State University, and what school-sponsored experiences allow them to acquire these competencies?” To answer this, our team of nine students conducted 30 semi-structured interviews with a diverse group of students in their senior year at Illinois State University. We focused on seven competencies identified by ISU’s Office of International Studies and Programs: Critical Cosmopolitanism, Social Cohesion, Cultural Sensitivity, Social Responsibility, Intercultural Communication, Bilingualism, and Global Dexterity. We found that almost all of our participating seniors perceived that they had acquired some degree of the seven global competencies and found them to be important for their lives. Interview participants reported the highest exposure to cultural sensitivity, social responsibility, and intercultural communication, and the lowest exposure to bilingualism. Within course-related activities, classes and professors appeared to be the best sources of global competency development. Within non-course-related activities, student organizations were mentioned the most often. In their final reflections, the research team suggested that the university make greater efforts to help students realize that they are acquiring global competencies, which are tangible skills in our increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.
The student researchers collaborated on all aspects of the research process, including refining research questions, reading and synthesizing the literature, developing the interview guide, conducting interviews, transcribing and analyzing the interviews, summarizing the findings, and connecting findings back to related studies and ISU’s internationalization efforts. In alphabetical order, the student researchers were: Jonathan Aguirre, Michael Drake, Felicia Kopec, Alicia Ramos, Shelby Stork, Stacy Strickler, Erin Sullivan, Annie Taylor, and Melisa Trout.
Improving the Graduate Student Experience thought Out-of-Class Experiences
Rebecca AchenSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Clint WarrenSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Hannah JorichSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Amanda FazzariSchool of Kinesiology and Recreation
Ken Thorne
 • School of Kinesiology and Recreation
This study evaluated student experiences and learning outcomes related to the professional field trip, which is designed to encourage connection between students and improve professional skills. Twenty-two graduate students attended the trip to Milwaukee, WI, where they participated in a networking event with industry professionals, toured an arena and Marquette athletics, and attended a baseball game. The trip was evaluated using pre- and post-trip surveys, a focus group, and interviews with professionals that the students interacted with. Results suggested the trip met students’ expectations, improved their connection to their cohort, clarified their professional goals, and improved their networking skills.
Using Simulations to Improve Interprofessional Communication and Role Identification between Nursing Student and Child Life Specialist Students
Peggy Jacobs• Mennonite College of Nursing
Sheri KellyMennonite College of Nursing
Keri Edwards • Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Lynn Kennell Mennonite College of Nursing
Cindy Malinowski Mennonite College of Nursing
Based on Recommendations by the World Health Organization to improve patient outcomes through teamwork and communication, the college of nursing collaborated with the child life specialist program to incorporate interprofessional collaboration into existing simulations. A quasi-experimental design with a pre and post-test regarding roles was used to discover how 3rd semester undergraduate nursing students and 3rd semester graduate child life specialist students (CSL) communicate during four simulated pediatric care scenarios. Consenting to participate were 49 nursing students and 4 CLS students.  The intervention group included a CLS. Videotaped simulations and audio taped debriefings were evaluated with the validated Interprofessional Collaborator Assessment Rubric (ICAR). Significant differences were found in communication and collaborative patient family approach. Nursing students showed greater growth in role understanding of the CLS (pre-13.69, post-14.13) compared to the CLS of the nursing role (pre-8.6, post-9.4).  Students recognized the need to continue to improve their teamwork and communication.
Challenging Pre-Service Teachers; Evolutionary Acceptance in Introductory Biology
Rachel Sparks• School of Biological Sciences
Rebekka Darner Gougis• School of Biological Sciences
In this study, we examine the efficacy of an instructional intervention on pre-service teachers’ acceptance of evolutionary theory. We used diagnostic question clusters with ORCAS (Open-ended questioning, student Responses, Contradictory claims, Assessment of contradictions, and Summary) discourse to elicit students’ prior knowledge and compel evaluation of claims with evidence. Pre-and post-instruction evolutionary acceptance, nature-of-science understanding, and conceptual knowledge about evolution were measured qualitatively and quantitatively, indicating the instructional treatment was effective in fostering acceptance and understanding of evolution. We discuss implications for further research and preparing pre-service teachers for teaching evolution concepts.
TRACK: Scholarly Approaches to Teaching
Exploring the Designed Environment and Human Behavior Course
Taneshia West AlbertDepartment of Family and Consumer Sciences
Miyoung HongCollege of Architecture, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Core competencies such as analytical skills, content knowledge, and awareness of human behavior set the foundation for learning among emerging interior design professionals. A human behavior course is the perfect medium to synchronize these ideas in the context of interior design challenges. Presently, significant gaps exist regarding the pedagogical approaches that prepare interior design students to integrate these skills into innovative design solutions. This paper discusses how objectives identified through the literature review influence the creation of lecture activities, project assignments, and student assessment to meet each identified objective. The authors offer respective strategies for building the course curricula.
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