Patrick Cushen and colleagues tackle whether or not students benefit from instructor-provided study guides, in the current issue of Teaching of Psychology (article here). In addition to being a great source for instructors in any field of study, this research is also a wonderful example of experimental SoTL research, and sparked so many research ideas I can’t wait to get off the ground!
Next week, Jen and I will be posting about all the things we learned at the Annual Conference on the Teaching of Psychology this year in Phoenix. Here is a quick recap of the highlights from the session’s today (stay tuned next week for more details!)
For the current semester, my in-class research centers on investigating the impact of one-on-one meetings with students within the first week of class. I was driven to begin this research because I had mandated that students meet with me at the beginning of the semester, so I could get to know them better than in previous semesters; however, I was unaware of any data supporting the utility of such meetings. As instructors of psychology we encounter hundreds of students (or more) per year. We also know that if students feel a connection to the class or the instructor they are more likely to remain engaged and invested in their education (and just before the time of writing I came across this article: “Student Success in Introductory Psychology: The Value of Teachers Knowing More About Their Students” by Wu and Kraemer (2017) which I will need to read). So, my primary motivation with this project is to figure out how an instructor of psychology can work to form a meaningful connection with all students?
After learning that when students provided feedback multiple times over the course of a semester, they rated the course higher and did better in the course (McDonnell & Dodd, 2017; see our summary of this research here), I wanted to further explore this idea.
Here at The Novice Professor, you may have noticed that we regularly review research on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). This enables us to stay connected to relevant research findings, and learn new, effective methods for teaching. If you are following TNP, you most likely share our passion for teaching. Many of us are constantly adapting our courses to improve learning outcomes, encourage student engagement, and, occasionally, make our lives as instructors a little easier. But how do we know if our course changes are having an impact?
Here at The Novice Professor (and everywhere else) academics are heading into a new school year. As "this" year comes to a close we are reflecting on the past year and setting goals for the upcoming year. To inspire you, and help hold ourselves accountable, we are sharing our goals with you in this week's posts, spanning several topics of academic life.
Research and Writing are important aspects of academic life, no matter your institution or position as evidenced by all four of us having goals in this area.
Traditional textbooks now come with some really cool online supplements. The goal for many who use these supplements in their courses is to increase student learning. While supplements vary in their offerings, most include some kind of quizzing component based on learning and memory principles like spacing and testing effects. Principles that we know can be effective for learning and retaining information. The purpose of these textbook supplements is great, but they often come with a pretty hefty price tag; especially when students need to buy the accompanying textbook new in order to get the access code. I am a passionate supporter of the trend in higher-ed toward cheaper (or free) textbook options, so I have wondered about the utility of these supplements in the face of the high price tag that often accompanies them.
Summer break is well underway for many of us. Here at The Novice Professor, we have given ourselves a summer SoTL reading list for June. We’ve discussed SoTL research in the past, including my post on ethics within classroom research, and our posts about the research discussed at NITOP’s 2018 meeting this past January (see posts here, here, and here).
The goal of SoTL research is to help educators improve their classrooms and better understand how their students learn. With that in mind, we are dedicating our June posts to reviewing SoTL articles, in hopes that it will inspire us (and our readers!) as we design our fall courses. Keep a look out on twitter and follow the hashtag #TheNoviceProfessor to catch all of our SoTL posts this month.
To jump-start this month, I decided to review an article by Harry Hubball, Anthony Clarke, and Gary Poole from the University of British Columbia.