Improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education At Public Research Universities : Considering Students' Perspectives on Teaching-related Factors and Faculty Experiences, Motivations, and Competencies Concerning Teaching Improvement Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2f75rc47b

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  • The underlying aim of my dissertation was to contribute knowledge that may better support and foster STEM education improvement initiatives at public research universities. The two research studies included in my dissertation advance knowledge per perspectives of key stakeholders targeted by initiatives attempting to foster change, students and faculty. In the first study, I used qualitative research methods to explore students' perspectives concerning teaching-related factors in STEM courses, with enhanced attention to students' felt affordances for their learning and engagement in STEM. In the second study, I used quantitative survey methods to investigate STEM faculty members' engagement in teaching-related professional development (TPD), barriers to participation in TPD, and their motivation and related competencies associated with TPD. My student-focused and faculty-focused studies are grounded in the notion that an individual's actions (including the learning and engagement that education initiatives desire to better) cannot be studied in isolation from context. My two studies are grounded in theories of affordances and sensemaking, allowing explanation of individuals' actions based on their perceptions of the environment. To explore STEM faculty members' experiences and motivation to participate in TPD, I also rely on self-determination theory, that posits different factors influencing autonomous or controlled motives to engage in a task (in this case, teaching-related professional development). The findings that emerged from my student-focused study indicated that an overwhelming majority of the students in the study deemed "pure lecturing," as a constraint to their learning and engagement. A plethora of perceived affordances concerning pedagogical practices and other factors were noted by students, beyond just favorable teaching methods (e.g., group work). In addition to specific teaching methods, other affordances included a variety of more general teaching methods (e.g. interactive lectures), instructional strategies (e.g. use of illustrations), students' cognitive engagement opportunities (e.g., connections to real world), additional physical/technological resources (e.g., notes), and instructor personality traits (e.g., enthusiasm). In fact, the perceived affordances of students, taken together, present teaching practice as a complex and multifaceted practice. The results of my faculty-focused study revealed that most STEM faculty in the study participated in TPD and many via multiple TPD experiences/activities, even in the face of commonly cited barriers such as lack of time and unfavorable institutional/departmental culture. Additionally, their participation in TPD was mostly regulated by autonomous reasons compared to controlled reasons. However, controlled reasons were still significant, especially for earlier-career faculty, and reduced with subsequent TPD participation. Lastly, my results indicate that STEM faculty who participated in TPD felt more competent to teach compared to those who did not participate in TPD and, more specifically, full professors felt more competent to teach compared to associate and assistant professors. My dissertation calls to attention the importance of engaging students and faculty in conversations and considerations related to educational practice and related improvement efforts. When external environments are perceived with affordances to improve pedagogical practices, faculty will more likely participate in activities that promote research-confirmed effective teaching practices. When faculty implement effective practices that place students as central, the classroom environment will be packed with affordances that support student success in STEM within the walls of the university and beyond.
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  • description.provenance : Submitted by Jennifer Collins (colljenn@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-01-14T18:16:25Z No. of bitstreams: 2 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 1875929 bytes, checksum: a88f77c2fe7d30f396ab137c32040372 (MD5) CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 1895348 bytes, checksum: 21d069c8cb38f9847fcc25bea5300e14 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Jennifer Collins (colljenn@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-01-15T23:59:18Z No. of bitstreams: 1 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 2944107 bytes, checksum: c158239279a10e9ab30667eaed511844 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Rejected by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu), reason: Replace file. on 2016-01-14T17:17:58Z (GMT)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-01-19T17:11:08Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 2944107 bytes, checksum: c158239279a10e9ab30667eaed511844 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Rejected by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu), reason: Rejecting for the following reasons - 1) Copyright page - the defense date is January 5, 2015 and should be December 10, 2015 2) Title page - remove "11" on the commencement date so it reads - Commencement June 2016 3) After the Table of Contents should be the List of Figures and then the List of Tables 4) Every page should be numbered consecutively to the end, so add page numbers to pages 145-187. Page 185 is blank, should something be on this page? 5) There are two identical files uploaded and should only be one. Everything else looks good. Once revised, log back into ScholarsArchive and go to the upload page. Replace the attached files with the revised PDF and resubmit. Thanks, Julie on 2016-01-15T19:03:05Z (GMT)
  • description.provenance : Made available in DSpace on 2016-01-19T18:54:43Z (GMT). No. of bitstreams: 1 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 2944107 bytes, checksum: c158239279a10e9ab30667eaed511844 (MD5) Previous issue date: 2015-12-10
  • description.provenance : Submitted by Jennifer Collins (colljenn@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-01-13T22:40:57Z No. of bitstreams: 1 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 1875929 bytes, checksum: a88f77c2fe7d30f396ab137c32040372 (MD5)
  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2016-01-19T18:54:43Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 CollinsJenniferS2016.pdf: 2944107 bytes, checksum: c158239279a10e9ab30667eaed511844 (MD5)

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