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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What are the differences?

Of course, there are no perfect measures of anything.  We used an instrument called the Course Valuing Inventory. It has four scales within it: Course Valuing, Course Learning, Personal Learning, Behavioral Learning.

We administered this test to the SUSTAIN students after 1 quarter and a group of freshmen in physics after 1 quarter.  The physics class consisted largely of engineering and science majors in their fall of their freshman experience.   A word about the physics class. It was run in a team-based learning mode where students, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be thriving and engaged in the course work.  The faculty member was more of a coach than a lecturer in this course, so we had expected the physics students to report a high value of the course.

Results: The SUSTAIN students reported higher scores on all scales relative to the physics students by about a standard deviation (that is considered a large "effect").  The differences were statitically significant for all categories except the Course Learning. (Statistical test: Multivariate Analysis of Variance, p=0.000 for all cases except CL - p=0.100)

P=Physics, S=SUSTAIN

What is this saying?  It is saying that the SUSTAIN students self-reported a higher degree of Course Value, Personal Learning, and Behavioral Learning than students.

Here are the questions in the categories (students were asked to rate these based on "strongly agree" (4) "agree"(3), "disagree" (2), and "strongly disagree" (1) :

Course Valuing:
This course was a very valuable learning experience for me
I consider this learning experience as time and effort very well spent
This was not a meaningful learning experience (reverse coded)
This course was a rewarding learning experience
This was not an inspiring course (reverse coded)
This was a constructive and definitely helpful learning experience
I would like to take another course like this one (reverse coded)
I would not recommend this course to a friend
Taking the course made little difference for me

Course Learning:
The course helped me to acquire important basic knowledge
I can now relate to the subject matter of the course from a wider perspective
I did not gain much information in this course (reverse coded)
I am now better able to conceptualize problems present in the course
My understanding of the subject matter has not increased much (reverse coded)
The course helped me achieve a deeper understanding of the field
This course did not help me gain thorough knowledge of the field (reverse coded)
I have not been able to tie things together and make much sense of the content presented (reverse coded)

Personal Learning:
This learning experience helped me to become more aware of my own feelings and actions
This course had no impact on my personal growth (reverse coded)
This experience helped me to realize the importance of my own feelings
I understand better how others perceive me
In some ways I feel good about myself due to this course
This course had no impact on my understanding of who I am or what I want (reverse coded)
Some of my values have been clarified due to this learning experience
I think I have learned to be more tolerant

Behavioral Learning
This course had no impact on the ways in which I communicate (reverse coded)
In this course I had not developed my own learning goals (reverse coded)
Somehow I worked harder in this course than I usually do
This course was useful in helping me develop new ways of learning
Somehow I was more open and sharing
I participated in this course less than I usually do (reverse coded)
Somehow I have taken more risks in this course, and I feel good about it.
I did no more reading or thinking than was actually expected (reverse coded)
In this course I have taken more responsibility for my own learning than I usually do

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting. At some level this helps explain some of the interesting trends you saw with the communications course and students bringing controversial and very personal topics to the table. It makes you ask questions about what is "fundamental" to engineering education...we label our engineering science courses as fundamentals - but I would argue that this project pushes on that idea - that perhaps fundamentals are about situating the practice in real work that matters to people.