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Lesson study, a means for fostering collaborative reflection: effects on the self-efficacy and teaching practices of developmental education college success course instructors

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ABSTRACT Counselors at a public community college who teach a first-year college success course to developmental education students do not have effective opportunities or a systematic method to develop their teaching practice. Moreover, like a majority of community college and

ABSTRACT Counselors at a public community college who teach a first-year college success course to developmental education students do not have effective opportunities or a systematic method to develop their teaching practice. Moreover, like a majority of community college and university instructors, many counselors do not have formal training in instruction. Since the retention and persistence rates of developmental education students are low when compared to non-developmental education students, and the purpose of the college success course is to increase developmental education student success, it is imperative that instructors of the college success course are well-trained to provide high quality learning experiences. The researcher implemented the Lesson Study (LS) professional learning experience in order to increase the collaboration amongst counselors in their efforts to improve their teaching practice as well as improve the quality of the learning experience for developmental education students, consequently potentially improving their retention and persistence. The researcher facilitated a mixed-method study to explore how instructors made meaning of their teaching practice as well as what changes they made to their instructional practice while engaging in LS. The researcher utilized qualitative means to analyze the following data: (1) instructors' weekly reflective journals, (2) semi-structured interviews with instructors after each cycle of LS, (3) video recordings of LS debrief meetings, and (4) video recordings of LS planning meetings. The researcher utilized quantitative means to analyze the following data: (1) pre/post instructor surveys on self-efficacy, and (2) 1,235 student questionnaires regarding LS lessons and non-LS lessons. Analysis of the qualitative data demonstrated that how counselors made meaning of their LS experience seemed to correlate with positive features attributed to the practice of LS in the research literature such as increased collaboration and in-depth reflection as well as positive changes in instructional practices and an increased focus on learning from practice. In addition, analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data showed that lessons created through LS produced a higher quality learning experience for students than lessons that were not created through LS. Moreover, the analysis of the data showed an increase in instructors' efficacy for teaching.

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Date Created
2014

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Effectiveness of peer mentoring and college success vourses on developing the self-efficacy of first-year community college students

Description

President Obama's (italic)Completion Agenda (/italic) is a plan that emphasizes improved student retention and persistence. The agenda also emphasizes the important role community colleges play in moving the nation toward economic prosperity. Current statistics indicate that nearly 48% of first-time

President Obama's (italic)Completion Agenda (/italic) is a plan that emphasizes improved student retention and persistence. The agenda also emphasizes the important role community colleges play in moving the nation toward economic prosperity. Current statistics indicate that nearly 48% of first-time college students are lost to attrition before the end of a student's first year of college. Student success is largely determined by student experiences during the first year; in order to address the (italic) Completion Agenda (/italic), colleges will need to support initiatives designed to help first-year students succeed. This study investigated the effectiveness of peer mentoring and college success courses on developing the self-efficacy of first-year community college students by evaluating the effectiveness of two course formats of a college success course; one format uses support of a peer mentor(s) and the other format does not use support of a peer mentor(s). The self-report College Student Self-Efficacy Inventory (CSEI) served as a data source instrument designed to measure the college experience in general and, in particular, the degree of confidence students have in their abilities to successfully perform a variety of college-related tasks. The CSEI consisted or 20 questions designed to measure three principle factors: academic self-efficacy, social self-efficacy, and social integration self-efficacy. Student demographic factors, including gender, age range, ethnicity, educational background, and data pertaining to the participants' educational goals and enrollment history, were also examined. Analysis methods included descriptive statistics, a t-test, and a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) measuring differences for each factor based on whether the student was supported by a peer mentor or not. Data analysis revealed no immediate measurable differences between the two formats; however, findings could suggest that the seeds of college success were nurtured and the experience of being enrolled in either course format of a student success course has yet to be realized. It was assumed that understanding the relationship between the two course formats and development of students' self-efficacy would provide useful insight into the effectiveness, merit, or value of peer mentoring and college success courses.

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Created

Date Created
2011

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Faculty impact on persistence and success in developmental writing classes

Description

In the next decade, community college English departments will expand their developmental course offerings. The students who take these developmental courses generally have higher incidence of diagnosed learnin g disabilities, bleak economic circumstances that require them to work full time,

In the next decade, community college English departments will expand their developmental course offerings. The students who take these developmental courses generally have higher incidence of diagnosed learnin g disabilities, bleak economic circumstances that require them to work full time, greater dependence on public transporation, and some level of frustration and confusion about being placed in a non-credit course despite graduating from high school. Using a qualitative approach, this action research study articulates the faculty behaviors, classroom environments, and faculty-student interactions that help developmental writing students succeed. The researcher interviewed successful students about what the faculty members did that helped them succeed in developmental writing classes. Then the researcher created and tested a checklist to help writing instructors conform their practices to best practices identified in published research and interviews with successful students. Instructors found the checklist useful in evaluating their own practices in relation to the current research.

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Date Created
2012

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Utilizing an artificial outcrop to scaffold learning between laboratory and field experiences in a college-level introductory geology course

Description

Geologic field trips are among the most beneficial learning experiences for students as they engage the topic of geology, but they are also difficult environments to maximize learning. This action research study explored one facet of the problems associated with

Geologic field trips are among the most beneficial learning experiences for students as they engage the topic of geology, but they are also difficult environments to maximize learning. This action research study explored one facet of the problems associated with teaching geology in the field by attempting to improve the transition of undergraduate students from a traditional laboratory setting to an authentic field environment. Utilizing an artificial outcrop, called the GeoScene, during an introductory college-level non-majors geology course, the transition was studied. The GeoScene was utilized in this study as an intermediary between laboratory and authentic field based experiences, allowing students to apply traditional laboratory learning in an outdoor environment. The GeoScene represented a faux field environment; outside, more complex and tangible than a laboratory, but also simplified geologically and located safely within the confines of an educational setting. This exploratory study employed a mixed-methods action research design. The action research design allowed for systematic inquiry by the teacher/researcher into how the students learned. The mixed-methods approach garnered several types of qualitative and quantitative data to explore phenomena and support conclusions. Several types of data were collected and analyzed, including: visual recordings of the intervention, interviews, analytic memos, student reflections, field practical exams, and a pre/post knowledge and skills survey, to determine whether the intervention affected student comprehension and interpretation of geologic phenomena in an authentic field environment, and if so, how. Students enrolled in two different sections of the same laboratory course, sharing a common lecture, participated in laboratory exercises implementing experiential learning and constructivist pedagogies that focused on learning the basic geological skills necessary for work in a field environment. These laboratory activities were followed by an approximate 15 minute intervention at the GeoScene for a treatment group of students (n=13) to attempt to mitigate potential barriers, such as: self-efficacy, novelty space, and spatial skills, which hinder student performance in an authentic field environment. Comparisons were made to a control group (n=12), who did not participate in GeoScene activities, but completed additional exercises and applications in the laboratory setting. Qualitative data sources suggested that the GeoScene treatment was a positive addition to the laboratory studies and improved the student transition to the field environment by: (1) reducing anxiety and decreasing heightened stimulus associated with the novelty of the authentic field environment, (2) allowing a physical transition between the laboratory and field that shifted concepts learned in the lab to the field environment, and (3) improving critical analysis of geologic phenomena. This was corroborated by the quantitative data that suggested the treatment group may have outperformed the control group in geology content related skills taught in the laboratory, and supported by the GeoScene, while in an authentic field environment (p≤0.01, δ=0.507).

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Agent

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Date Created
2012

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Cross-disciplinary collaboration between two science disciplines at a community college

Description

Health science students like students in many disciplines exhibit difficulty with transferring content from one course to another. For example, the problem explored in this study occurred when overlapping concepts were presented in introductory biology and chemistry courses, but

Health science students like students in many disciplines exhibit difficulty with transferring content from one course to another. For example, the problem explored in this study occurred when overlapping concepts were presented in introductory biology and chemistry courses, but students could not transfer the concepts to the other disciplinary course. In this mixed method action research study, the author served as facilitator/leader of a group of colleagues tasked with investigating and taking steps to resolve this student learning transfer problem. This study outlines the details of how an interdisciplinary community of practice (CoP) formed between chemistry and biology faculty members at a community college to address the problem and the benefits resulting from the CoP. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from transcripts of meetings of the faculty members, notes from other formal and informal meetings, classroom visits, a questionnaire containing Likert and open-ended items and interviews. Transcripts, notes, and interviews were coded to determine common themes. Findings suggested the CoP was an effective means to deal with the matter of student transfer of content across courses. In particular, the CoP agreed to use similar terminology, created materials to be used consistently across the courses, and explored other transfer specific approaches that allowed for transfer of course content. Finally, the benefits of the CoP were due in large part to the collaboration that took place among participants.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Observations, values, and beliefs about ethnic/racial diversity by members of community college faculty search committees

Description

As open-door institutions, community colleges provide access to students from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. Yet while enrollment of students of color in community colleges continues to increase, representation by faculty of color has not. This

As open-door institutions, community colleges provide access to students from a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and cultures. Yet while enrollment of students of color in community colleges continues to increase, representation by faculty of color has not. This qualitative study investigated community college faculty search committee members' implicit and subjective observations, values, and beliefs about ethnic/racial diversity in order to gain an understanding of how they may influence the faculty hiring process. The researcher interviewed 12 subjects-- administrators and faculty members at three community colleges in a large district in the southwest region of the United States--who served on faculty search committees from 2006-2009. Findings revealed three major themes: (a) the communication of diversity; (b) search committee dynamics with the sub-themes of role of the chair, role of administration, and the issue of time; and (c) subjects' observations, values, and beliefs, with the sub-themes of conflict, the idea of a "good fit," colorblindness, self-perception of having attained enlightenment about diversity, and the blaming of applicant pools. Discussion of the results was facilitated by utilizing three critical race theory constructs: (a) the pervasiveness of racism as ordinary and normal, (b) the use of Whiteness as the normative standard, and (c) the rejection of liberalism. The findings support the literature's assertion that colleges and faculty search committees can publically claim to value diversity but engage in practices that are incongruent with such claims. Despite the best institutional rhetoric on faculty diversity, failure to address search committee members' values, beliefs, and behaviors will result in little change. Communication and effective leadership can help increase faculty of color representation at community colleges. Communication about the relevance and practical application of diversity should be strong and consistent. Additionally, search committee definitions of "qualified" need to be challenged specific to members' colorblindness and beliefs in the effectiveness of meritocracy. Moreover, leadership is needed to advocate and hold people responsible and accountable for inclusive practices. Critical race theory served as a useful theoretical framework to identify the obstacles and analyze policies and power structures that facilitate underrepresentation of faculty of color in community colleges.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2010

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Individual and combined impact of institutional student support strategies on first-time, full-time, degree-seeking community college students

Description

Although U.S. rates of college enrollment among 18-24 year olds have reached historic highs, rates of degree completion have not kept pace. This is especially evident at community colleges, where a disproportionate number of students from groups who, historically, have

Although U.S. rates of college enrollment among 18-24 year olds have reached historic highs, rates of degree completion have not kept pace. This is especially evident at community colleges, where a disproportionate number of students from groups who, historically, have had low college-completion rates enroll. One way community colleges are attempting to address low completion rates is by implementing institutional interventions intended to increase opportunities for student engagement at their colleges. Utilizing logistic and linear regression analyses, this study focused on community college students, examining the association between participation in institutional support activities and student outcomes, while controlling for specific student characteristics known to impact student success in college. The sample included 746 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students at a single community college located in the U.S. Southwest. Additional analyses were conducted for the 440 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students in this sample who placed into at least one developmental education course. Findings indicate that significant associations exist between different types of participation in institutional interventions and various student outcomes: Academic advising was found to be related to increased rates of Fall to Spring and Fall to Fall persistence and, for developmental education students, participation in a student success course was found to be related to an increase in the proportion of course credit hours earned. The results of this study provide evidence that student participation in institutional-level support may relate to increased rates of college persistence and credit hour completion; however, additional inquiry is warranted to inform specific policy and program decision-making at the college and to determine if these findings are generalizable to populations outside of this college setting.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2011

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Mobile engagement at Scottsdale Community College: the Apple iPad in an English honors class

Description

This dissertation reports on an action research study that sought to discover how a new WiFi, tablet computing device, the Apple iPad, affected, enhanced, and impacted student engagement in an English Honors course at Scottsdale Community College. The researcher was

This dissertation reports on an action research study that sought to discover how a new WiFi, tablet computing device, the Apple iPad, affected, enhanced, and impacted student engagement in an English Honors course at Scottsdale Community College. The researcher was also the instructor in the two semester, first-year, college composition sequence (English 101/102) in which all 18 students were provided the new Apple iPad tablet computing device. The researcher described how students adapted the Apple iPads to their academic lives, assessed iPad compatibility with current instructional technology systems, and interviewed participating students to document their beliefs about whether iPad activities enhanced the course. At the conclusion of the college composition sequence, 13 students agreed to participate in focus groups to describe how they made use of the iPad and to report on how the iPad influenced their engagement. Among other findings, students reported that there were compatibility problems with current SCC instructional technology systems, that the iPad increased their efficiency in completing informal educational tasks, but that the iPad was not useful for doing word processing and research. Recommendations for future use of the iPad in this course include reducing the number of iPads accessing the WiFi network at the same time, piloting the use of iPad word processing applications, researching more "mobile-friendly" web sites and documents, and developing innovative assignments that take advantage of iPad capabilities.

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Agent

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Date Created
2011