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Dennis Sunal
05/21/2012 8:15am

How common is it for STEM faculty to use action research to validate strongly held beliefs about students learning e.g. less is more ---teaching key concepts during class time produces lower achievement in physics, chemistry etc? Additional learning can be relegated to Internet and textbook and cooperative group discussion out of class time.

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05/22/2012 8:29am

Reflecting on what I see with my colleagues, if we consider action research to be a continuum then I would say that more faculty do something than do not. The continuum at its lowest level is for an instructor to look at course evaluations, reflect on these, and then make a change in the classroom and then follow-up on this in subsequent years. No real structure or organized plan, but it is an attempt to improve student learning. Most of us want to do well in the classroom and will try things.

The far end - structured and purposeful action research to improve the classroom. In m experience I do not see a great deal of this. Obstacles of time, clarity of tools that I can use, analysis techniques etc are stumbling blocks. This is an opportunity to form partnerships or teams of faculty to collaborate on action research - say a research group - to help each other and share common experience and action research.

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Dennis Sunal
05/21/2012 9:07am

Walton- Cal Poly Pomona
Getting administrators behind reform is critical. What strategies/actions worked at Cal Poly to get university administrators on board in course and program reform?

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Nicki Collins
05/21/2012 9:40am

Dr. Larry Flick:

Regarding the new Discourse-rich Classroom, what is your vision of assessment/evaluation within the classroom? Do you segregate group testing verses individual testing? What components, especially degrees of participation are a part of your formula for grading? For at the end of the class, students must somehow earn a grade.

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Gail Horowitz
05/22/2012 4:22am

Some people mentioned Alecks during this sessions (online homework, tutorials, etc.).

You might want to check out sapling (saplinglearning.com). They are an independent company that does online hw, but they are more of a cognitive tutor where they adapt the feedback to the student (provide hints and scaffolds). I tested out their software for organic and I really liked it - unfortunately it was too expensive for my student population (about $30/student). But I highly recommend you check it out. You can demo it online in what they call a playground. It is customizable for different textbooks, different sequences of topics.

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