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Abstract Title: Measuring the impact an instructor's words has on student engagement and responses
Abstract: From fall 2008 to fall 2010 extensive data were collected within the large-lecture introductory calculus-based physics course at Oregon State University for the purpose of measuring the efficacy of course reform and studying student identity development in learning communities. Simultaneously, data were collected at the University of Cape Town in a completely un-related study, also within a large-lecture introductory course, but for understanding how students make sense of measurements in the laboratory.  Trends seen in both of these settings led to an in-depth analysis of the wording used by the instructor to introduce in-class activities or phrase questions to probe student understanding.  We found strong correlations between authoritativeness of statements and a reduction in student engagement in both environments. This poster briefly presents the results of these studies, proposes a model for understanding this effect from a cognitive perspective, and ties the findings to the literature on identity and community.
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Social Hierarchies and Accessibility in Physics

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Dedra Demaree
Oregon State University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Saalih Allie, Sissi Li