International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education
IJTLHE
2014: Volume 26 Number 3
Reviewers for Issue 26(3)
Ali A. Abdi University of British Columbia
Craig Abrahamson James Madison University
Leigh Anderson Virginia Tech
Jessica Chittum East Carolina University
Patricia Cranton University of New Brunswick
Denise Domizi University System of Georgia
Peter Doolittle Virginia Tech
Erin Horan, Ph.D. American University
Danielle Lusk Virginia Tech
Kate McConnell American Association of Colleges and Universities
Megan O'Neill New Jersey Institute of Technology

2014 - Research Article
Anderson, N., Flash, P.
Views: 447       [1797]
Abstract: Peer review is not included in undergraduate horticultural curricula. Our research objectives in an 8-year study, which ranged from 2000 to 2007 in two sections (2000-2002 non-peer reviewed and 2003-2007 peer-reviewed) of Greenhouse Management students at the University of Minnesota were to determine whether iterative peer reviews would result in improved learning, enhanced writing, refined revision processes, and higher written paper/course grades for undergraduate and professional horticulture students, as well as the effects of double blinding, whether years affected any parameter and the validity/reliability of peer reviews. Both sections were assigned a semester-long, 3-phase writing-intensive assignment. Principle findings that emerged were: (a) after engaging in iterative structured peer-reviews, student final grades in the peer review group exceeded those in 2/3 of non-peer reviewed years; (b) students quickly identified superior papers; (c) while students grasped the peer review process and matched their editing skills with the instructor and teaching assistants by Phase II, a lag time (Phase III) occurred before it significantly increased their grades; (d) graded paper scores were not different across years; (e) anonymity of peer reviews had no effect; and (f) students were initially able to recognize writing issues in peers’ drafts and address them in their own writing. Inclusion of more than 2 peer reviews into horticulture courses is highly recommended.

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2014 - Research Article
Francisco, J.
Views: 528       [1798]
Abstract: This case study started when I noticed that my ESL (English as a Second Language) students from all over the world had a hard time not only adjusting their writing/textual production to the language but also to the organizational structures of the paragraph I was presenting to them in my intermediate writing class. Considering that my students need to have a real experience with the new paragraph structure and keep applying it to their writing for our 16-week class, I tried two different interventions based on several authors who emphasize the learner-centered teaching during the spring semester of 2012 at Black Hawk College in Moline, IL. The first intervention took place on the first class day when I did not introduce the paragraph model and the terminology we would adopt. I let the student write the first assignment freely; however, in our next class, we used their own paragraph to compare to the rhetorical model I was proposing. The second intervention was about making clear and precise comments on students’ drafts in order to be as clear and precise as possible to keep them following the same paragraph structure model. Results and analysis of these two interventions are presented in this case study.

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2014 - Research Article
Dosch, M., Zidon, M.
Views: 430       [1799]
Abstract: As diversity in higher education increases, the one-size-fits-all, teacher-centered, traditional model of lecture-style teaching sets students up for failure. In addition, the strategic rhetoric of blaming students for academic failures keeps the systemic power in place, justifying the current system. In contrast, differentiated instruction, a student-centered instructional model, has shown success in higher education through a limited number of mostly qualitative studies. The purpose of the current study was to explore implementing differentiated instruction in higher education to understand if quantitative improvements were noted in a differentiated (DI) classroom compared to a nondifferentiated (NDI) classroom in two different sections of the same Educational Psychology course taught by the same instructor. In addition, perceptions toward the use of differentiated instruction were attained. The DI and NDI sections had enrollments of 39 and 38 undergraduate students, respectively. The majority were preservice teachers attending a mid-sized Midwestern University. The DI group significantly outperformed the NDI group on the aggregates of the assignments and the exams. However, only two assignments and one exam showed significantly higher scores for the DI group when examined individually. The DI group perceived differentiated methods as beneficial to their learning as noted on the course evaluation and survey questions.

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2014 - Research Article
Dandy, K., Bendersky, K.
Views: 684       [1802]
Abstract: Beliefs about learning can influence whether or not a student learns course material. However, few studies in higher education have compared student and faculty beliefs about learning. In the current study, students and faculty agreed on many aspects of learning—including the definition of learning, which most hinders learning and where learning should take place—and had similar beliefs about learning styles. Though these similarities were mostly encouraging, beliefs about where learning should take place and in learning styles could undermine learning efforts. The implications of these beliefs are discussed and suggestions for promoting learning in the context of these findings are offered.

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Abstract: Students often approach their research methods course with dread typically because of the broad and abstract nature of the content. In the study presented here, we introduced a variety of student-driven, content-specific assignments that allowed for a more active learning experience when compared to the typical research methods course. Providing a range of student choice in the research methodology curriculum offers the advantage of incorporating an active learning approach as well as fostering an environment that promotes students’ intrinsic motivation for learning the material. After completing this course, students reported a significant gain in skill acquisition and showed significant gains in knowledge of research methods, and they reported improved attitudes toward research. An examination of the pre-course student characteristics and their correlations with post-course student characteristics suggests that this kind of approach to teaching was effective for a range of students. These findings lend support to the growing body of literature that suggests that students learn best when they are actively engaged in the process and are most intrinsically motivated when they feel they have autonomy over their learning.

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2014 - Research Article
Stover, S., Pollock, S.
Views: 352       [1819]
Abstract: The purpose of this case study was to assess a history instructor’s attempt to redesign an introductory history survey course. Traditionally, it has been taught in a face-to-face environment within the university’s core curriculum program. It was redesigned as a synchronous online course that provided students with opportunities to work collaboratively to build a community of inquiry and to develop the analytical skills needed to understand course materials and compete in the 21st-century workforce. Students were required to attend daily 100-minute web conferencing sessions consisting of mini-lectures, polling questions and discussions in large and small groups (i.e., “breakout rooms”). Daily quizzes were introduced to incentivize students to complete the assigned readings and help them prepare to contribute meaningfully to group discussions, as well as to allow the instructor to assess student understanding objectively. Students completed a modified Community of Inquiry Survey at the end of the course. Results showed that the instructor was able to build a strong level of community of inquiry, teaching presence, social presence, and cognitive presence.

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2014 - Research Article
Gunersel, A., Etienne, M.
Views: 464       [1857]
Abstract: This article presents a preliminary study of a faculty development program at a university in the Northeastern United States, exploring how the program influenced instructors’ teaching conceptions about teaching in general and themselves as educators, and teaching approaches , including intended and adopted strategies. Interviews with 12 participants were conducted and analyzed; the theoretical orientation for the analysis was the grounded theory approach, and the constant comparative method of analysis was used. Findings indicate that the program influenced all of the participants’ teaching conceptions in various ways (seven themes) and facilitated a shift towards a student-centered approach to teaching. Additionally, the program influenced all of the participants’ teaching approaches (16 intended or adopted strategies), leading to the use of active learning methods. This study adds to the literature on the impact of pedagogical training programs for faculty, which is crucial as there is an increase in faculty development centers.

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2014 - Instruction Article
Renard, H.
Views: 405       [1787]
Abstract: Design thinking is a way of understanding and engaging with the world that has received much attention in academic and business circles in recent years. This article examines a hands-on learning model as a vehicle for developing design thinking capacity in students. An overview of design thinking grounds the discussion of the material-based specialized studio course, Felt Construction. The pedagogical context as well as the components and organization of the course are considered through case studies. The effectiveness of course design is analyzed, and the relevance to other disciplines is addressed, with the intention of providing some flexible strategies that may be used in course design where cultivating design thinking is an objective.

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2014 - Instruction Article
Soundranayagam, L.
Views: 322       [1791]
Abstract: College students in the non-English-speaking world have to overcome formidable barriers in reading and writing when their medium of instruction is English. One particular problem faced by science majors is the writing of lab reports, a demanding task that might not be effectively supported by the standard guides and manuals available. This paper presents a new, very basic, no-frills guide aimed specifically at students in countries where English, although a second language, is also the language of instruction. The purpose of the guide is to provide an explicit structure to assist the user in presenting and communicating information in a clear and logical manner.

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Abstract: In this study we assessed the effects of paragraph length on the reading speed and comprehension of students. Students were randomly assigned to one of three groups: short paragraph length (SPL), medium paragraph length (MPL), or long paragraph length (LPL). Students read a 1423 word text on a computer screen formatted to align with their group designation, followed by assessments of content recall, application, and transfer. Results indicate that paragraph length has a significant effect on content application and transfer, but not on content recall. These results are interpreted within the current literature on text comprehension and computer screen eye fatigue.

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2014 - Instruction Article
Carmichael, T., Norvang, R.
Views: 360       [1835]
Abstract: Technology and social media, often seen as counter productive to student learning, can provide intriguing new ways to extend and enhance learning across international borders. This article explores one successful learning project, based on the Nobel Peace Prize, that connected students from Norway, South Africa, and the United States through various social media forms, allowing them to learn about, dialogue on, and create projects surrounding the concepts of world peace, sustainable peace, and global citizenship, while themselves practicing that citizenship. The article details the pedagogy behind the learning project, explains the student responses, and describes the way that the high impact practices involved helped to increase student engagement. It also describes the international faculty collaboration that made this international learning project successful.

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Abstract: In this paper, I describe an innovative assignment for teaching undergraduate students cross-cultural understanding. The Outsider/Insider assignment simultaneously teaches facts about cultural difference and skills for managing cross-cultural encounters. Briefly, the assignment is to write two short papers, one in which the student describes a situation in which he or she was the outsider, and the other a situation in which he or she observed a newcomer to a group where that person was an insider. The paper begins by reviewing previous research on cross-cultural interaction and its relevance for pedagogy, and describing the course, its goals, and the “Outsider/Insider” assignment. The effectiveness of the assignment is demonstrated through an analysis of excerpts from student papers. This analysis shows how the assignment can accomplish learning on a range of dimensions. The main themes that will be addressed are the following: (a) being seen as the outsider; (b) challenges related to outsider status; (c), the relevance of social class, poverty, and wealth on insider/outsider status; (d) strategies for coping in cross-cultural encounters; and (e) benefits to the student of being willing to cross boundaries. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the assignment facilitates student learning and its relevance for a range of undergraduate courses.

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Abstract: Discussion forums are a primary tool for interactions in the online classroom. Discussions are a critical part of the learning process for students, and instructor facilitation should reflect this importance. Effective instructor discussion facilitation encourages students, provides evidence and analysis and links the discussion to subsequent discourse. However, instructors receive little guidance in strategies to meet these expectations. To fill this gap, the REEAL Model is presented to support faculty in developing appropriate discussion responses. In addition, a transcript analysis technique is described which can be used as part of a faculty development program to ensure faculty have appropriate skills and background. The outcome of the process is faculty who are comfortable and confident developing discussion postings that align to learning outcome, provide meaningful, and facilitate ongoing conversation.

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Abstract: Although expectations for graduate students’ writing abilities are high, their actual writing skills are often subpar (Cuthbert & Spark, 2008; Singleton-Jackson, Lumsden, & Newson, 2009), even though academic writing is considered integral to graduate education and necessary for career preparedness (e.g., Mullen, 2006; Stevens, 2005). Today’s scholars in any field must be prepared to communicate findings effectively to a variety of audiences and venues. As such, explicit support in academic writing and communication skills at the graduate level is vital, and yet this area of support is often neglected in graduate level programs (e.g., Pfeifer & Ferree, 2006; Surratt, 2006). Thus, we propose engaging students in the professional peer-review process to nurture this skillset. In this paper, we present support for and practical implications of involving students in the professional peer-review process, where graduate students serve as initial reviewers in double-blind (or similarly robust) review procedures for refereed journals. We discuss theoretical and empirical support for incorporating professional peer-review activities to facilitate growth in graduate students’ academic writing skills and productivity, including constructivist theory, examining examples and non-examples, working within the zone of proximal development to engage in deeper levels of learning, and utilizing general student peer review to improve writing skills. Finally, we present a framework for incorporating this form of peer review into graduate programs across disciplines.

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2014 - Instruction Article
Doolittle, P.
Views: 504       [1985]
Abstract: Education has long been driven by its metaphors for teaching and learning. These metaphors have influenced both educational research and educational practice. Complexity and constructivism are two theories that provide functional and robust metaphors. Complexity provides a metaphor for the structure of myriad phenomena, while constructivism provides a metaphor for learning. In the synthesis of these two powerful metaphors lies a new metaphor—complex constructivism. The reality of complex constructivism is one in which the non-linear, adaptive, and constructive nature of learning is embraced. Complex constructivism views learning as the active construction and adaptation of one's internal models of reality based on the interaction between oneself and one's environment (including other persons), such that the functioning of one's internal models exceeds the sum of the models' components.

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