2015-2016 Funded Projects

Personalization of Complete and Hybrid Online Courses in Geology

Andy R. Bobyarchick

Abstract: Physical Geology Online (GEOL 1200) is a general curriculum science course taught 100% online. It is a survey course that introduces students to the processes and properties of the geological sciences. This is a reading intensive course with multiple levels of assessment, and it has been very successful based on student outcomes and end-of-term assessments. Nonetheless, the course is in need of revisions in style and instructor presence. It is a large enrollment course, so many traditional best practices methods for student engagement are difficult to implement. The proposed project will intercalate into the existing course a set of custom modules and pages based on the instructor’s extensive encounters with geology in the field. These modules will be blended images made by the instructor and custom narratives. Language in the narratives will be made conversational so that students will hopefully perceive of the instructor as an individual instead of a presence. The ultimate goal is to personalize the students’ course experience.

Full Proposal: Personalization of Complete and Hybrid Online Courses in Geology [PDF, 323 KB]

Gateways to Public Health: Redesigning an Undergraduate Global Health Curriculum for Improved Student Access and Success

Jessamyn Bowling, Pilar Zuber, Elizabeth Racine, & Melinda Forthofer

Abstract: Continuing growth in enrollment without corresponding growth in resources for staffing the course and shifting enrollment patterns limit our ability to accommodate student demand while preserving our emphasis on active learning in this course, with possible implications for student success. Given dramatic disparities in enrollment and graduation rates between subgroups of students, shifts in educational practices should be accompanied by consideration of the impact that such shifts have on documented disparities in educational attainment. The overall purpose of the proposed project is to plan, implement and evaluate an evidence-based redesign of our undergraduate global health curriculum to maximize student access and success. Through a rigorous review of student enrollment patterns, a systematic backward design approach to curriculum redesign, and formative and summative evaluation of curriculum effectiveness, our team of faculty will carry out a redesign of the global health curriculum that will enhance equity in student access to our public health programs and success in those programs.

Full Proposal: Gateways to Public Health: Redesigning an Undergraduate Global Health Curriculum for Improved Student Access and Success [PDF, 815 KB]

It’s not a PD, It’s Pedagogy: Designing a Restorative Justice Curriculum for Urban School Educators using Community Co-Teaching and Active Learning

Bettie Ray Butler

Abstract: Restorative justice (RJ) has gained popularity among educators as a promising alternative to school suspensions. A growing concern among teachers, however, is that they lack the necessary understanding to effectively implement culturally responsive restorative practices in urban classrooms. Currently, RJ training is limited to professional development workshops that occur only after teachers have entered the profession. The success of RJ requires early ongoing exposure to evidence-based restorative practices to develop a positive school climate, prevent disruptive behavior, and reduce suspensions. This research intends to reform teacher education curriculum by proposing that a restorative philosophy be integrated into teacher preparation programs. Using a combination of community co-teaching and active learning, prospective teacher educators, doctoral students in EDCI 8320: Social Deviance, Delinquency, and Education (Curriculum and Instruction), will bridge research and practice by (1) becoming familiar with restorative philosophy; (2) engaging community leaders who have a record of success implementing RJ practices in urban classrooms; (3) observing and participating in RJ processes; and (4) planning and developing RJ courses for preservice teachers. At the conclusion of the course, participating doctoral students will co-facilitate a Summit on Restorative Justice in Urban Education for practitioners, policymakers, university faculty, and others to address how institutions of higher education can work collaboratively with urban schools/districts and community organizations to narrow the discipline gap and improve academic outcomes. Survey data collected from the Summit will be empirically analyzed and subsequently compiled into a report to inform RJ initiatives both at the policy level and in practice.

Full Proposal: It’s not a PD, It’s Pedagogy: Designing a Restorative Justice Curriculum for Urban School Educators using Community Co-Teaching and Active Learning [PDF, 282 KB]

Integrating Low Stake Formative and Summative Assessments into Teaching of Introduction to Computer Science for Continuous Improvement and Effectiveness Measurement

Mohsen Dorodchi

Abstract: High failure rate in the introductory programming courses of computer science (CS1) is a wellknown problem which is also believed to be the major reason in declining retention rates. On the other hand, it is reported that some students change their major from computer science in spite of good grades they earn in the first two programming courses. As a result, the Computer Science Education (CSE) community has identified the need to include various instructional teaching strategies and tools as part of course design to address students’ high failure rates in programming courses. In this paper, we propose a new model for teaching introductory programming course for large lecture and closed labs configuration using active learning techniques. Our primary studies confirm that a coherent lecture-lab model is very effective in first programming course in computer science (CS1). To achieve the desired coherency, we have developed our activities based on established theories such as Kolb’s learning model and Bloom’s Taxonomy (BT). The presentation of this work starts from analyzing few essential problems in students' learning of first programming course. Furthermore, we review our developed interventions or methods addressing the aforementioned problems. And finally, we propose our method which combines planning, evaluation and action together using Logic Model. 

Full Proposal: Integrating Low Stake Formative and Summative Assessments into Teaching of Introduction to Computer Science for Continuous Improvement and Effectiveness Measurement [PDF, 602 KB]

What Teaching PreK-12 Classroom Teachers Can Do for Teaching College Students: An Ethnography of Professors Leading Seminars in the Charlotte Teachers Institute

Scott R. Gartlan & Adriana L. Medina

Abstract: Recent program evaluation data on PreK-12 classroom teachers who completed the Charlotte Teachers Institute seminars indicates that program usefulness and empowerment levels for teachers is statistically significantly related to developing higher expectations for their students, increasing subject mastery, and creating materials to motivate their students. Little research has been done to understand the impact of CTI on those leading the professional development seminars: the college professors. This study proposes an ethnographic approach to evaluate the impact of CTI on professors over the course of 12 months. Furthermore, the question of how leading a CTI seminar is related to teaching an undergraduate course will be addressed. Given the inherent complexity of supporting curriculum development in the CTI program the theoretical foundation will draw upon work from Problem-Based Learning in an attempt to illustrate similarities and differences between teaching classroom teachers and college students. Through a series of direct observations and ethnographic interviews, three professors from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will be at the center of this 12-month project. Additionally, their students and teachers will take part in focus group interviews. This project intends (a) to illuminate a holistic picture of the processes and roles of professors in their effort to support the curriculum development writing process, (b) to determine how facilitating learning among teachers is related to teaching undergraduates, and (c) to document the evolution of professors in CTI over the course of 12 months. 

Full Proposal: What Teaching PreK-12 Classroom Teachers Can Do for Teaching College Students: An Ethnography of Professors Leading Seminars in the Charlotte Teachers Institute [PDF, 1.17 MB]

Addressing Quality of Feedback and Fidelity of Scoring Within edTPA Formative Practice Tasks for COED Candidates

Laura Hart & Shawnee Wakeman

Abstract: UNC Charlotte is one of several institutions of higher education (IHEs) participating in edTPA, a pre-service teacher performance assessment developed by Stanford University. While North Carolina does not yet dictate the use of scores like those derived from edTPA in licensure decisions, recent legislative efforts are moving in that direction (it is anticipated this will occur in the 2019-2020 academic year). The College of Education has been proactive in how it addresses both formative and summative supports but formative feedback provided to students and scoring of formative products vary by program and instructor. The current project is designed to ensure that students receive both high quality specific feedback as well as accurate representative scoring on formative edTPA practice tasks within coursework. The goals of this project address increasing 1) the quality of feedback provided to candidates (including feedback regarding candidate use of written communication and critical thinking skills) and 2) the fidelity of scoring of formative products during coursework across instructors and programs.

Data analysis in spring 2017 on the current state of predictive validity of edTPA practice tasks to edTPA final scores will inform the development of training (implemented summer 2017) and a quality of feedback measure. Analysis of data collected from candidate formative and summative data in 2017-18 will be compared to data collected in 2016-17 to ascertain the impact of the training. Multiple measures will be considered, including the impact of the training on the quality of feedback candidates receive from faculty who participate. 

Full Proposal: Addressing Quality of Feedback and Fidelity of Scoring Within edTPA Formative Practice Tasks for COED Candidates [PDF, 329 KB]

Results: Hart & Wakeman SoTL Report

It takes a village: Team-teaching to enhance teacher-candidate confidence to teach diverse students

Scott Kissau

Abstract: English language learners (ELLs) represent approximately 12% of students in CharlotteMecklenburg Schools and as much as 22% in schools surrounding the University of North Carolina at Charlotte campus (Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, 2015). Additionally, in 2011- 2012 special needs students accounted for 13% of the public school population in U.S classrooms (National Center for Education Statistics, 2014). These statistics show a need for teachers prepared to help ELLs or students with special needs, yet troubling data from the University of North Carolina General Administration indicate that more than half of recent UNC Charlotte College of Education graduates are not confident in their abilities to teach these populations. To address this gap, the Department of Middle, Secondary and K-12 Education in the College of Education will redesign the content of EDUC 5100 (Diverse Learners), a required course taken by approximately 150 aspiring middle and high school teachers each year, to include an innovative co-teaching approach that integrates curriculum across multiple disciplines and provides valuable teaching experience to doctoral candidates. This replicable study, designed to enhance the confidence or self-efficacy of teacher candidates, the project’s success will be evaluated using a mixed methodology with both survey and interview data.

Full Proposal: It takes a village: Team-Teaching to Enhance Teacher-Candidate Confidence to Teach Diverse Students [PDF, 865 KB]

Preservice Teachers as Writers: Examining the Self-Efficacy, Writing Processes, and Pedagogical Transference of Preservice Teachers

Brian Kissel & Erin Miller

Abstract: The central objective of this research project is to study how a specific classroom assignment that is focused on teaching undergraduates about the writing process can influence a) student self-efficacy related to writing, b) the transference of written communication knowledge to other courses, and c) student intentions to carry learning forward into future K-6 classrooms. The assignment is called The Multigenre Project and this study will explore three key questions within the assignment: 1) What effects does The Multigenre Project have on students’ self-efficacy related to writing? Specifically, how do students’ views of themselves as writers change from the beginning of the semester to the end of the semester as influenced by this project? 2) What do students learn about writing process by completing The Multigenre Project? 3) In what ways do students intend to carry their knowledge about writing gained from The Multigenre Project forward into their other courses at UNCC and into their future classrooms with K-6 students? The questions will be addressed by collecting data that include: pre- and post-surveys, written reflections, and focus group interviews. Using a mixed methods approach (Creswell, 2007), we aim to quantitatively analyze surveys (Pinsonneault & Kraemer, 1993; NorlandTilburg, 1990) and qualitatively code the written reflections and interviews using a grounded theory approach (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Strauss and Corbin, 1988). This research will contribute to a knowledge base about curriculum innovation that influences students’ writing self-efficacy, increases knowledge about writing process, and students’ abilities to integrate writing skills and strategies into other UNCC courses and future K-6 classrooms.

Full Proposal: Preservice Teachers as Writers: Examining the Self-Efficacy, Writing Processes, and Pedagogical Transference of Preservice Teachers [PDF, 328 KB]

edTPA and Academic Language Development: Supporting Faculty and Teacher Candidates Across the K-12 Disciplines

Joan Lachance

Abstract: Teacher candidates across North Carolina will soon be required to successfully complete a performance-based assessment called edTPA to be recommended for initial teaching licensure. In preparation, the UNCC College of Education has been piloting its use across K-12 programmatic disciplines for nearly three years. Simultaneously, the College has formally collected data since 2014 to address program needs via candidates’ assessment outcomes. Based on preliminary analyses, there is an indication that pre-service teachers across content area programs continue to struggle with how to operationalize academic language development (ALD) with their students. The one outlier in this pattern is the group of candidates in the Teaching English as a Second Language program. These candidates’ edTPA scores indicate an effective demonstration of knowledge and skills related to ALD. Therefore, this project’s goals are to discover teacher candidates’ conceptualizations of ALD and, to create and implement a specialized series of supportive Canvas modules for the College faculty who prepare teacher candidates for edTPA. The research questions for a mixed-methods study are: 1) What do current College of Education edTPA faculty identify as challenges associated with supporting preservice teachers’ understandings of ALD? and; 2) How do current pre-service teachers conceptualize ALD in the context of their content-area? The project has the potential to a) increase faculty awareness regarding the specialized edTPA aspect of ALD across the content areas, b) expand the integration of ALD competencies across the College’s teacher preparation programs, and c) ultimately increase teacher candidates’ edTPA outcomes across the content areas.

Full Proposal: edTPA and Academic Language Development: Supporting Faculty and Teacher Candidates Across the K-12 Disciplines [PDF, 1.03 MB]

A Comparison of Student Learning and Engagement in Quality Matters Redesigned Versus Traditionally Designed Courses in an Online Nursing Program

Susan Lynch & Teresa Gaston

Abstract: The purpose of this one-year project is to evaluate the impact Quality Matters (QM) redesigned courses had on student learning and engagement in the RN-to-BSN program within the School of Nursing at UNC Charlotte. The QM program is a leader in quality, online education and has earned national recognition for such. It is widely used in higher education; however, nursing education research is lacking. This pilot study is a comparison of two Quality Matters redesigned courses versus two traditionally designed courses delivered 100% online. Student centered outcomes including student learning outcomes, student engagement, and quality of student online discussion forums will be measured. The data analysis will include descriptive statistics and parametric group comparisons. The results of this project will provide essential information to important stakeholders and nursing faculty regarding whether the QM program improves student centered outcomes, thus guiding next steps in online nursing education programs within UNC Charlotte and beyond. As online nursing education programs continue to explode in numbers, quality is becoming a significant key factor in online education.

Full Proposal:

Lynch & Gaston - A Comparison of Student Learning and Engagement in Quality Matters Redesigned Versus Traditionally Designed Courses in an Online Nursing Program [PDF, 630 KB]

Student and Faculty Perception of “Quality Matters” Certified Online Courses

Florence Martin, Ayesha Sadaf, Patti Wilkins, & Lynn Ahlgrim-Delzell

Abstract: Quality Matters (QM) is a nationally recognized, faculty-centered peer review process designed to certify the quality of blended/ online course design. Quality Matters has been adopted as the quality framework for online and hybrid courses at UNC Charlotte and faculty are being encouraged to work towards applying the 43 QM standards into their courses and receive QM certification to enhance quality in online learning. Twelve courses have been QM certified in 2015 and 2016 at UNC Charlotte and eight of those courses are from the instructional systems technology program.

As part of this SOTL project, a team of faculty from the Instructional Systems Technology and Educational Research programs would like to work on the following three goals 1) examine student perception on the QM certified courses in the IST program by conducting a survey based research study using Dillman tailored-design survey method 2) showcase QM certified courses and present the student perception data in workshops for other faculty on campus and 3) create a video repository including faculty and student benefits of engaging in a QM certified online. The results from this project will benefit the larger UNC Charlotte community of faculty who are interested in earning QM certification for their courses. The results will also benefit other universities who are interested in adopting QM as their quality matters framework.

Full Proposal: Student and Faculty Perception of “Quality Matters” Certified Online Courses [PDF, 1.3 MB]

Broader Impacts 101: Evaluating the Impact of a Graduate-level Course in Science Communication and Outreach

Adam Reitzel & Lenora Crabtree

Abstract: Graduate coursework in the sciences offers little formal training in communication and outreach. While funding agencies, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), require grant proposals to address the broader impacts of research, novice scientists have few opportunities to create and engage in activities that convey research findings to the public. Many scientists employ a deficit model when communicating with the public, an approach that fails to effectively engage the citizens in critical dialogue regarding 21st century challenges including climate change and health disparities. We seek funding to develop, teach and assess a course that will explicitly address a gap in graduate student training at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The proposed research utilizes a mixed methods approach to evaluate the effects of a graduate level course, Broader Impacts 101: Engaging the Public through Communication and Outreach, on science communication and outreach self-efficacy. The proposed course will provide context, information, and experiences that will challenge students to develop ideas for Broader Impacts initiatives and communicate their research to non-science audiences. Attitudes of participants toward the role of research scientists in the development of public science literacy will be evaluated. Positive impacts, including a paradigm shift regarding effective communication methods and increased engagement of student researchers from underrepresented groups, are predicted which will result in both short and long term benefits for novice scientists, the university and the public.

Full Proposal: Broader Impacts 101: Evaluating the Impact of a Graduate-level Course in Science Communication and Outreach [PDF, 1.11 MB]

Better Groups: Combining a web-based tool with teamwork strategies to foster active learning in group work

Andrew D. Reynolds

Abstract: While instructors turn to extended group work assignments to promote active learning in their courses, it can be difficult for instructors to manage this group work effectively. Instructors often encounter challenges when organizing and scaffolding group work activities, promoting the social and emotional skills required for effective group work, and including student voices and opinions on logistical matters such as choosing a topic or finding a mutually available meeting time. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the use of this tool used in conjunction with intentional and focused group-work teaching strategies in the context of project-based assignments in social work education settings. To date, the primary investigator has developed a working prototype of a tool (see bettergroups.org for a description), which uses student’s voice, availability, and skills to assign students to optimal groups. The current SOTL project would combine the use of this group-assignment prototype tool with other non-web based strategies for enhancing group work, including 1) structured group teambuilding activities (teambuilding), 2) structuring both individual and group assignments within the overall project group (accountability), and 3) formative and summative assessment (evaluation). It is hypothesized that students who participate in courses that use this pedagogical approach will report increased skills for group work as compared to other classes in which they have participated in group work activities. The research generated from this project - as well as the web application itself - will be made available to UNCC and the broader public. 

Full Proposal: Better Groups: Combining a Web-based Tool with Teamwork Strategies to Foster Active Learning in Group Work [PDF, 945.8 KB]

Empowering the Future of Making to Catalyze STEM Learning Integrations and Innovations Across the Curriculum

David Wilson

Abstract: Growing numbers of learners are engaging in STEM practices and learning through various forms of “Making.” The Maker approach is fundamentally self-driven informal learning that centers on personally meaningful projects using physical and digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printers, to design, prototype, and make creative physical products. Making often takes place in social contexts and places – Makerspaces – where learners can find shared tools, collaborators, and mentors. This project will study learning impacts of the recently established CCI Makerspace and related emerging Makerspaces on campus. The research is a re-orientation of perspective in STEM education to focus on student and faculty learning as enabled through the informal learning environment of our on-campus Makerspace. Our vision is to create a sustainable living laboratory for self-guided innovation that transforms students and faculty across disciplines from persons with an interest in individual creative STEM-related projects to persons with a STEM-based affinity identity [7] as Makers. This focus on design thinking will support learning benefits from cross-disciplinary interaction, particularly in interdisciplinary peer learning of STEM concepts, exposing non-STEM learners to STEM concepts, and disrupting traditional teacher-student roles. The project will study the interactions and impacts of an informal learning environment embedded in the campus context of formal learning programs. Results will help catalyze and sustain Maker transitions by identifying design patterns for learning [9] that emerge within the Makerspace, which can be applied more generally to foster synergetic interactions between formal and informal learning on campus.

Full Proposal: Empowering the Future of Making to Catalyze STEM Learning Integrations and Innovations Across the Curriculum [PDF, 1 MB]