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

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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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Date Created
2011

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Preparing high school students for transition to community college

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ABSTRACT

Although it is generally acknowledged that a college degree is foundational to achieving success in the 21st century, only 19.5% of those entering public community colleges graduate with an associate's degree within three years (NCES, 2014). Many challenges have

ABSTRACT

Although it is generally acknowledged that a college degree is foundational to achieving success in the 21st century, only 19.5% of those entering public community colleges graduate with an associate's degree within three years (NCES, 2014). Many challenges have impeded students including being underprepared to transition from high school to college, being a first-generation college student, and having limited support networks.

The purpose of this action research project was to implement a college-going readiness program designed to increase the social and personal readiness of high school students making the transition from high school to college. The College Transition Project, the intervention, offered a series of face-to-face class sessions for students and online supplemental materials for students and parents (a) guiding and assisting students in navigating the college system, (b) improving social readiness, and (c) increasing goal setting, time management, communication, and stress management. The curriculum was designed to include key topics including potential pitfalls or challenges common to previously unsuccessful college students. Goal orientation, co-regulation, and self-regulation theories provided frameworks supporting the intervention. Over a five-week period, an instructor taught students who received information on these topics; while students and parents could review online resources at any time.

A concurrent mixed methods research design was employed and data included pre- and post-intervention surveys, field notes, and post-intervention interviews. Results indicated some modest outcomes were attained. Quantitative results indicated no changes in various study measures. By comparison, qualitative data showed students: recognized the usefulness of co-regulation as it related to college preparedness, realized self-regulation efforts would aid their transition to college, and developed some college navigation skills that would facilitate transition to college. Most students acknowledged the need to identify goals, engage in self-regulation, and practice self-efficacy as critical components for students transitioning from high school to college. The discussion explained the outcomes in terms of the theoretical frameworks. Implications focused on additional ways to develop self-efficacy and employ co-regulated activities and relationship building to aid in developing motivation and to nurture emerging identities in students who were transitioning from high school to college.

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Created

Date Created
2017

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The Influence of Validating Advising Practices on Intention to Persist for Women and Underrepresented Minority Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Description

There has been an ever-increasing demand in the United States to produce educated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. Because more women and minority students have begun their higher educational preparation at community colleges, these institutions have been uniquely

There has been an ever-increasing demand in the United States to produce educated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals. Because more women and minority students have begun their higher educational preparation at community colleges, these institutions have been uniquely positioned to support these students and increase the number of STEM graduates. Nevertheless, to attain this commendable goal, community college staff and faculty members will need to redouble their efforts to provide active and sustained programs and interventions to support and assure student persistence in STEM fields.

To address the problem of practice, the researcher engaged in a variety of validating practices to influence women and minority students’ intent to persist in a STEM degree. Thirteen, first-year women and minority students participated in the study. Validation theory (Rendón, 1994) provided a framework to inform the intervention and forms of validation. The validating practices included two advising visits and intentional email communications to students in their first semester at community college.

A mixed methods approach was employed to examine two objectives: (a) the types of validation students experienced in their first semester and (b) the influence of validating advising practices on intention to persist in STEM. The Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB; Ajzen, n.d.) guided study efforts in relation to the second objective. Data gathered included survey data, interviews, email communications, and researcher journal entries. Results suggested students experienced academic and interpersonal validation by in-class and out-of-class validating agents. Although not all experiences were validating, students were validated to a greater extent by their academic advisor. Because of validating advising practices, students in this study developed confidence in their ability to be capable college students. Students also felt motivated and expressed intentions to persist toward a STEM degree.

The discussion focuses on explaining outcomes of the four research questions by connecting to the extant literature. In addition, limitations of the study are presented. Finally, implications for practice, implications for future research, and lessons learned are also shared.

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Date Created
2020

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Harnessing Emotions: The Impact of Developing Ability Emotional Intelligence Skills on Perceptions of Collaborative Teamwork in a Project-Based Learning Class

Description

The purpose of this action research study was to implement and analyze an intervention designed to improve perceptions of working with others as well as practice and improve emotional tools related to such interactions through the systematic development of ability

The purpose of this action research study was to implement and analyze an intervention designed to improve perceptions of working with others as well as practice and improve emotional tools related to such interactions through the systematic development of ability emotional intelligence (EI) related skills. The present study sought to: (1) explore high school students’ perceptions of their role as part of a team during teamwork; (1a) investigate how perceptions differed by EI level; (2) examine how students’ perceptions of their role in teamwork were influenced by being paired with more advanced (ability EI) peers or less advanced peers, based on ability emotional intelligence test scores; (3) determine if ability emotional intelligence related skills could be developed over the course of a 7-week intervention.

The intervention took place in a 12th grade US Government & Economics classroom with 34 participants for examination of general trends, and 11 focal participants for focused and in-depth analysis. Students were taught about emotion theory and engaged in two weeks of ability emotional intelligence skills training, followed by a five-week project cycle in which students were required to work together to achieve a common goal. The research design was mixed methods convergent parallel. Quantitative data were collected from post- and retrospective pre-intervention surveys regarding student perceptions about working with others and their ability EI related skills. Qualitative data were collected through on-going student reflective journal entries, observational field notes, and interviews with the focal group of participants.

Results suggested the intervention had a significant effect on students’ perceptions of working with others and perceived ability emotional intelligence related skills. Significant positive change was found through quantitative data analysis, revealing students’ perceptions about working with others in teams had improved as a result of the intervention as had their perceptions about their ability EI related skills. Qualitative analysis revealed rich, thick descriptions exploring this shift in perception among the 11 focal students, providing the evidence necessary to support the effectiveness of the intervention. Results suggested the possibilities for improved teamwork in the classroom.

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Agent

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Date Created
2019