Issues experienced by community college STEM faculty implementing and using pedagogies of engagement Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/td96k621b

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  • The purpose of this study was to explore the issues involved with implementing and using pedagogies of engagement in community college STEM courses. The rationale for this study was based on current and emerging STEM education policy directives calling for an updated approach to teaching undergraduates, focused on student engagement, and also the need to include the perspectives of community college faculty in guiding the refinement of these policies. Pedagogies of engagement are classroom techniques intended to stimulate deeper and more student-centered learning experiences and include such activities as calibrated peer review, cooperative learning, interactive lectures, case-based studies, and peer-led learning. Numerous studies have indicated that pedagogy intending to better engage students can improve learning as well as retain and even recruit students into STEM fields. Therefore, engagement has been a central theme in recent education policy. Given the relatively-new policy encouraging the use of pedagogies of engagement in undergraduate STEM courses, research that contributes to this topic is significant, especially in the community college setting, a focus that is rarely highlighted in the literature. This study was designed to contribute to the growing body of research about how pedagogies of engagement can improve community college STEM programs by investigating issues that full-time faculty experience when implementing and using these pedagogical strategies. This study was guided by the following foundational questions: (1) What are the issues involving pedagogies of engagement in community college STEM programs? (2) How can the identified issues be resolved? (3) What strategies can be used for implementing and using pedagogies of engagement? This study employed a qualitative research approach focusing on six individual community college full-time faculty members who were experienced with these instructional styles. These individuals were recruited via a preliminary screening survey that determined their experience with the techniques and willingness to be interviewed. The data gathered in this study consisted of inperson interviews, analysis of supportive documentation provided by or referred to by the participants, and participant feedback of the results. The issues experienced by full-time community college STEM faculty when implementing and using pedagogies of engagement were broadly organized into the following themes: student issues, faculty issues, and external issues. Student issues involved student resistance and the perception of engaged pedagogy being of lesser value than traditional lecture-based instructional approaches. Faculty issues included skepticism of the efficacy of the pedagogy, the need for curriculum planning time, cost of facility and equipment upgrades, and the lack of assessment tools to measure student engagement. External issues included insufficient access to professional development opportunities with an engagement focus and also the need for faculty evaluation systems with student engagement as a key outcome. The study findings revealed that those issues could be resolved through collaborative team problem-solving approaches and through participation in high-quality professional development programs. Finally, in regard to the final research question involving strategies for implementing and using pedagogies of engagement, questions for practice were developed that community college educators might consider when implementing these instructional strategies.
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