The following projects were selected for funding in the 03-04 round of SoTL Small Grants. The projects all focus on a teaching-learning issue related to one or more of our values from Educating Illinois. In addition, all projects were required to involve a team of researchers including at least two faculty members and one student from the same discipline/department.
You can view the reports and findings by clicking the grant title.
Supporting Grass Roots Response to Change in Teacher Education: Engaging Cooperating Teachers in the Improvement of Student-Teaching Experiences of English Education Majors at Illinois State University
Becca Chase, Kenneth Lindblom, and Susan Bloome, English
This research is related to the piloting of a Cooperating Teacher Orientation Program (CTOP), which is designed to enhance the student teaching experiences of ISU undergraduate English Education majors. Ten cooperating teachers (CTs) will participate in a year-long pilot CTOP. The pilot CTOP will take place over half-day-long sessions held four times during the 2003-2004 academic year. The study will look at the effectiveness and impact of the pilot CTOP. The research team will make their results public by submitting an article to the national, peer-reviewed journal English Education in July 2004 and submitting a panel presentation at the National Council of Teachers of English 2004 Annual Convention. The results of this study will also be used as support for an application for major external funding to implement the pilot CTOP as a permanent orientation program open to all cooperating teachers in English at ISU.
Applied Computer Science: Student Learning Styles and Success, Including Analysis of Preferred Teaching Styles
Mary Goodwin, Mary Elaine Califf, and Michael Stroming, Applied Computer Sciences
This study examines the relationship between learning styles and success in information technology programs. A previous study has suggested a relationship between being an upper-level major in computer science and certain learning styles. We wish to explore that possibility that this relationship exists in our program and to try to find ways to help larger numbers of students succeed in the major. We will administer a learning style assessment to students in the initial course in the degree programs in the School of Information Technology, and then track student’s success in the two subsequent courses in the degree programs. We will administer the learning style assessment again as students complete ITK 169 (the last of the three courses). We will also collect information regarding teaching styles used in the courses. We will then look at the relationships between learning styles, teaching styles, and success in the courses, in the hopes of making recommendations for changes to the courses that might improve student learning and success rates.
Understanding Epistemological Development in Foundation of Inquiry Students: A Longitudinal Investigation
Patricia A. Jarvis, Gary L. Creasey, and Leatrice Brooks, Psychology
The proposed study will investigate student’s epistemic beliefs to better understand why FOI is not working for some students and how the course might be restructured to meet its goals more effectively. We will conduct a longitudinal study in which the epistemological beliefs of FOI students will be assessed at two times of measurement (the first and last two weeks of classes). Two primary hypotheses will be tested. First, if students develop critical thinking skills in their FOI classes, then epistemological beliefs will demonstrate statistically significant improvement over time. Second, because there is some controversy if there are gender differences in epistemological development (Torney-Purta, 1990), we will determine if such growth is moderated by gender. The study results will have a number of important implications. First, if epistemological beliefs display significant development over time, we will have obtained important assessment data regarding the viability of FOI. However, if null findings are documented, it is possible that some of the aforementioned curriculums designed to modify epistemological development could be introduced early in the FOI process, paving the way for the development of analytical thinking. Thus, our ultimate goal is to support FOI using systematic data and/or recommend empirically derived changes to the curriculum as needed.
Lessons from the Borderlands: The Classroom Experiences of Minority Faculty and the Impact of Faculty Racial Identity on Student Awareness of Inequality and Diversity
Maura I. Toro-Morn, Kathleen Leilani Ja Sook Bergquist, and Makoto Sakamoto, Sociology and Social Work
Comparisons of Classroom-based and Internet Based Instruction for a Construction Safety Course
Harvey F. Thomas, Rodney Simmons, Guang Jin, and Aaron M. Mannos, Health Sciences
The study is designed to identify any academic performance differences in the traditional classroom-led version of the course with the Internet-version of the course based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as an independent variable. The specific objectives of the study are as follows: (1) differences in the two methods of course delivery will be examined through comparison of student performances on examinations that are designed to measure student leaning over the first three levels of cognitive leaning as described by Bloom’s taxonomy; (2) comparisons will be made between individual student academic performance in the Construction Safety course with their academic history records-including ACT scores and grade point averages; (3) correlations will be drawn between the quality of student responses to exam questions to student personality type using the Myers-Briggs type indicator using the first two indications-Extroversion vs. Introversion and Sensing vs. Intuition.