Collaborative Research: Understanding and reducing student resistance as a barrier to faculty change.

Project No.
1347482
PI Name
Cindy Waters
Institution
North Carolina A&T State University


WIDER

Abstract 1

Collaborative Research: Understanding and reducing student resistance as a barrier to faculty change.

Presentation Type
Poster
Team
Cindy Waters, North Carolina A&T State University; Maura Borrego, University of Texas; Cindy Finelli, University of Michigan; Michael Prince, Bucknell University; Charles Henderson, Western Michigan University


Need

Student resistance is often cited as a major barrier to facultyメs use of active learning, but there are few research-based strategies for reducing this barrier. To address the need for such strategies, we have initiated a project to identify specific, research-based strategies to significantly reduce student resistance to facultyメs use of active learning practices.

Goals

The first goal is to ascertain factors that influence student resistance to nontraditional teaching methods in introductory engineering courses, and then to identify specific, evidence-based strategies that faculty can employ to significantly reduce student resistance. We are employing rigorous instrument development procedures to design student surveys to measure student resistance and expectancy violation. We conducted in-depth studies of four introductory engineering courses from a range of institutions, combining qualitative methods (classroom observations, student and faculty interviews) with quantitative surveys to identify additional factors related to student resistance. We are beginning a full-scale study of 20 introductory engineering courses.

Approach

We developed a model of student resistance by relating existing frameworks. We constructed specific based off both Chasteenメs and Weimerメs language and supplemented by our own classroom observations. Overall course satisfaction items were adapted from an existing scale. Reliability and validity concerns were addressed using sources of evidence: construct, content and face validity. Reliability was measured with confirmatory factor analysis. Construct item measurement was developed based on existing frameworks. Confirmatory factor analysis was performed on the data to test these constructs. Content validity was assessed via expert panel feedback in educational psychology, physics and engineering education. We piloted with undergraduate engineering students at three institutions for Instrument clarity and length feedback. For reliability testing, the end of term version of our instrument was administered to 191 students in 4 engineering classes at 3 different institutions.

Outcomes

The survey suite of instruments have undergone several modifications based on stakeholder input. They are now SRAL 1, SRAL 2 and SRAL 3 , SRAL standing for Student Resistance of Active Learning. The faculty surveys are the IS 1 Beginning-of-Term Instructor Survey and the IS 2 end of term survey. Correlation analysis and reliability testing indicate that our instrument was a reliable measure for broad constructs.

Broader Impacts

Identifying specific, effective strategies for reducing student resistance to active learning is a potentially transformative approach to undergraduate engineering instructional change. By focusing on student resistance, this project is expected to have a substantial impact on engineering faculty change efforts, both within and beyond engineering. Introductory courses are frequently blamed for attrition of STEM majors, so our studies of these courses are expected to have high impact. We have disseminated our classroom observation protocol and related methods through one journal article (IJEE) and two conference papers (ASEE and FIE). We presented two additional conference papers about our methods and preliminary findings (ASEE and REES). We have selected the faculty for this coming year participation in the study. The faculty development initiatives we employ as we disseminate our research findings will result in improvements in faculty teaching practices.

Unexpected Challenges

Creating a validated instrument that completely and succinctly captures all aspects of studentメs expectations and resistance to instructor practices in an active classroom.

Selecting and facilitating diverse faculty implementation of the suite of survey instruments and capturing all appropriate IRB compliance.

Citations

* Publications: Conference papers
Title. Student perceptions of instructional change in engineering courses: A pilot study
Conference name. 2014 ASEE Annual Conference
Conference location. Indianapolis, IN.
Status of publication. Published
Year. 2014
Authors. Borrego, M. J., Prince, M. J., Nellis, C., Shekhar, P., Waters, C., & Finelli, C. J.
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes

Title. A classroom observation instrument for assessing student reaction to active learning
Conference name. 44th IEEE/ASEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Conference location. Madrid, Spain
Status of publication. Accepted
Year. 2014
Authors. Finelli, C. J., DeMonbrun, M., Borrego, M. J., Shekhar, P., Henderson, C., Prince, M., & Waters, C. K.
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes

Title. Development of a Survey Instrument to Measure Studentsメ Resistance to Active Learning
Conference name. University of Michigan Engineering Education Fair
Conference location. Michigan
Status of publication. Presented
Year. 2015
Authors. Finelli, C. J., DeMonbrun, M., Borrego, M. J., Shekhar, P.
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes

Title. Methods for establishing validity and reliability of observation protocols
Conference name. ASEE 2015
Conference location. Seattle, WA
Status of publication. Presented
Year. 2015
Authors. Finelli, C. J., DeMonbrun, M., Shekhar, P.
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes

Title. A Mixed Methods Study to Understand Student Resistance to Active Learning
Conference name. REES
Conference location. Ireland
Status of publication. Presented
Year. 2015
Authors. Shekhar, P., M., Borrego, M. J., Finelli, C. J., DeMonbrun, M., Prince, M., Waters, C. K.& Henderson, C.,
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes

Journal papers:
Title: Development of an Observation Protocol to Study Undergraduate Engineering Student Resistance to Active Learning
Title of Journal. International Journal of Engineering Education
Status. Published
Year. 2015
Authors. Shekhar, P., DeMonbrun, M., Borrego, M. J., Finelli, C. J., Prince, M., Henderson, C & Waters, C. K.

Volume: 31(2), 597ヨ609
ISSN: 0949-149X
Acknowledgement of Federal support: yes
Peer Reviewed: Yes