Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Room: Park Tower 8212
Mayla Ayers - Harris-Stowe State University
Co-Author(s): Jana Marcette, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri; Ann Podleski, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, Missouri
The purpose of this study is to pinpoint techniques that would effectively engage and emit a sense of validation among college students. Intensive research was conducted to increase retention rates of said students, as Harris-Stowe State University statistics show that the starting number of incoming freshmen noticeably decreases as they advance toward upperclassman status. We observed the impact of the individual response teaching technique (i.e. clickers) on establishing a more cohesive sense of community. In the classroom, the clickers would be used along with traditional means of involvement (hand raising, open discussion, etc.) with select classes, then later compared to other classes which did not use clickers. We hypothesize that students would participate more freely without typical reluctance caused by fear of disapproval or judgement. We used the Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol to observe classroom behavior and methods of learning. This software required the researcher to analyze full class sessions, inputting the frequency of typical classroom actions such as student-led dialogue and individual/group exercises, all while using clickers anonymously during teacher-led exercises as the control. From this, we found that in a class that used clickers, there was increased student-led dialogue, which is one method to gauge student engagement. Focus groups and student surveys were also held to evaluate how both clicker and non-clickers students felt about group activities. We found that while a majority of students felt that they would be somewhat or very successful in responding to questions asked by a professor or asking their own questions during class, high-achieving students were the least likely to feel that they would be successful in responding to questions, and were less likely than average-achieving students to feel that they would be successful in asking clarifying questions during lectures. We found that while both groups did not favor group activities in general, students using clickers were more willingly to engage one another and felt more confident about participating in class. One question that is worth reanalyzing and collecting more data is: does gender matter in the effectiveness of classroom participation and student-faculty interactions? This area of interest would potentially allow our research for exploring the student dynamic to become even more inclusive and considerate of subjective details. The collective experience in college consists of progression and satisfaction in academic and social dynamics; this is what we call ?campus climate?. It is imperative for students to want to remain at their undergraduate institution, thus increasing retention rates and degree completion. This study provides good reason that implementing a clicker system will proliferate the sense of academic validation and social cohesiveness because its benefits can span through many aspects of student body dynamics.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF HBCU-UP Implementation Grant
Faculty Advisor: Jana Marcette, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I evaluated the student engagement data that was collected over both spring and fall semesters of 2015. I collected background information on various educational environments and factors for student success. With this data, along with interpreting the results from our study's Teaching Dimensions Observation Protocol, student surveys and focus group data, I created a concluding presentation on how students' participation in the classroom setting was either affected or unchanged by incorporating clicker technology.