Scientific Publications

Abstract

Portfolio-based designs are among the most popular student-centered approaches in higher education. While the pedagogical literature typically provides generic advice on ideal portfolio-based designs, there is little empirical data on how such designs are developed over time and what design decisions teachers take in response to challenges in practice. This article provides an empirical account of a three-year design cycle of a portfolio-based ecology course at a Norwegian university. It investigates how the design changed over the years and how these changes related to the challenges the teacher met during the enactment of the course. To that end, a thematic analysis of course plans, evaluations, and interviews with the designing teacher was conducted. The findings show how the teacher introduced, removed, and (re-)configured different course components in order to address challenges related to the limited coherence between portfolio items and organized class meetings, and students’ limited engagement with the disciplinary knowledge. Thereby, the course design gradually evolved from a portfolio-based design towards a hybrid design combining portfolio, traditional exam and team-based learning. This study illustrates that portfolio-based designs have great potential but no guarantee to support students in active engagement with knowledge; and that teachers need to actively maintain their student-centered focus in their designs by responding flexibly to the emerging challenges.

Keywords: portfolios, course design, biology education

 

Reference and link to the article

Esterhazy, R. and Fiksen, Ø. (2019). Evolution of a portfolio-based design in ecology: a three-year design cycle. Uniped, 01/2019 (volum 42) https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.1893-8981-2019-01-05

Abstract

We extended the research on autonomy-supportive teaching to universities and examined the relationships between autonomous motivation to teach and autonomy-supportive teaching. Autonomously motivated university instructors were more autonomy-supportive instructors. The freedom to make pedagogical decisions was negatively correlated with external motivation towards teaching. Participants indicated that large class sizes, high teaching loads, publication pressures, and a culture that undervalues effective undergraduate teaching undermined both student learning and their feelings of autonomy. Together these results presents a picture of a subset of university instructors who remained autonomously motivated to teach, irrespective of barriers they experienced from university administrators or policies.

Keywords: Self-Determination Theory, Intrinsic Motivation, Undergraduate, Mixed-methods.

 

Reference and link to the article

Yasué, M., Jeno, L. M., and Langdon, J. L. (2019). Are Autonomously Motivated University Instructors More Autonomy-Supportive Teachers? IJ-SoTL, Vol. 13 [2019], No. 2, Art. 2

Abstract

As science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) classrooms in higher education transition from lecturing to active learning, the frequency of student interactions in class increases. Previous research documents a gender bias in participation, with women participating less than would be expected on the basis of their numeric proportions. In the present study, we asked which attributes of the learning environment contribute to decreased female participation: the abundance of in-class interactions, the diversity of interactions, the proportion of women in class, the instructor’s gender, the class size, and whether the course targeted lower division (first and second year) or upper division (third or fourth year) students. We calculated likelihood ratios of female participation from over 5300 student–instructor interactions observed across multiple institutions. We falsified several alternative hypotheses and demonstrate that increasing class size has the largest negative effect. We also found that when the instructors used a diverse range of teaching strategies, the women were more likely to participate after small-group discussions.

 

Reference and link to the article

Cissy J Ballen, Stepfanie M Aguillon, Azza Awwad, Anne E Bjune, Daniel Challou, Abby Grace Drake, Michelle Driessen, Aziza Ellozy, Vivian E Ferry, Emma E Goldberg, William Harcombe, Steve Jensen, Christian Jørgensen, Zoe Koth, Suzanne McGaugh, Caroline Mitry, Bryan Mosher, Hoda Mostafa, Renee H Petipas, Paula A G Soneral, Shana Watters, Deena Wassenberg, Stacey L Weiss, Azariah Yonas, Kelly R Zamudio, Sehoya Cotner, Smaller Classes Promote Equitable Student Participation in STEM, BioScience, Volume 69, Issue 8, August 2019, Pages 669–680, https://doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biz069

 

Abstract

We extended the research on autonomy-supportive teaching to universities and examined the relationships between autonomous motivation to teach and autonomy-supportive teaching. Autonomously motivated university instructors were more autonomy-supportive instructors. The freedom to make pedagogical decisions was negatively correlated with external motivation towards teaching. Participants indicated that large class sizes, high teaching loads, publication pressures, and a culture that undervalues effective undergraduate teaching undermined both student learning and their feelings of autonomy. Together these results present a picture of a subset of university instructors who remained autonomously motivated to teach, irrespective of barriers they experienced from university administrators or policies.

 

Reference and link to the article

Yasué, Maï 8988034; Jeno, Lucas M.; and Langdon, Jody L. (2019) "Are Autonomously Motivated University Instructors More Autonomy-Supportive Teachers?," International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Vol. 13: No. 2, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/ij-sotl/vol13/iss2/5