Abstract: Scientific undergraduate research in higher education often yields positive outcomes for student and faculty member participants alike, with underrepresented students often showing even more substantial gains (academic, professional, and personal) as a result of the experience. Significant success can be realized when involving deaf and hard-of-hearing (d/hh) undergraduate students, who are also vastly underrepresented in the sciences, in interdisciplinary research projects. Even d/hh Associate degree level students and those in the first two years of their postsecondary careers can contribute to, and benefit from, the research process when faculty mentors properly plan/design projects. We discuss strategies, including the dissemination/communication of research results, for involving these students in research groups with different communication dynamics and share both findings of our research program and examples of successful chemical and biological research projects that have involved d/hh undergraduate students. We hope to stimulate a renewed interest in encouraging diversity and involving students with disabilities into higher education research experiences globally and across multiple scientific disciplines, thus strengthening the education and career pipeline of these students.
Abstract: A typical preservice teacher will experience demanding teaching situations during practicum. In such situations, interpersonal support from fellow students may be an important factor if experiences gained during teaching practice are to make a constructive contribution to personal growth for the teacher. Human support from other preservice teachers can bridge a gap that can be filled only to a limited extent by practice supervisors, who also have a role in assessing the students’ practice periods. The phenomenon of preservice teachers helping their co-students—even though, strictly speaking, they have no formal responsibility in this area—is called citizenship behavior here. Structural equation modeling of questionnaire data collected among Norwegian preservice teachers shows that performance approach motivation is the factor most strongly associated with citizenship behavior. Intrinsic motivation is also a significant factor, both as a direct and an indirect effect, via study absorption. The self-efficacy of preservice teachers in teaching situations also has a robust association with citizenship behavior, while experiences involving pupil engagement problems in teaching situations have a negative effect on self-efficacy. Pupil engagement problems also have an adverse impact on absorption.
Abstract: The paper demonstrates and evaluates the effectiveness of a blended learning approach to create a meaningful learning environment. We use the term blended learning approach in this paper to refer to the use of multiple or hybrid instructional methods that emphasize the role of learners as contributors to the learning process rather than recipients of learning. Contribution to learning is attained by using in class gaming as pathways that ensure active involvement of learners. Using a blended learning approach is important in order to be able to address different learning styles of the target group. The approach was also important in order to be able to demonstrate different types of challenges, issues and competences needed in project management. Student evaluations of the course confirmed that the use of multiple learning methods and, in particular, in class gaming was beneficial and contributed to a meaningful learning experience.
Abstract: E-learning experiences are widely becoming common practice in many schools, tertiary institutions and other organisations. However despite this increased use of technology to enhance learning and the associated investment involved the result does not always equate to more engaged, knowledgeable and skilled learners. We have observed two key prevalences. The first is an ingrained, and often unquestioned, set of beliefs and expectations held by the majority of people who have experienced formal education, and who are involved in the development of eLearning and blended learning experiences. These beliefs tend to impact the overall design of what a blended type of learning experience might consist of. The second prevalence is for educational institutions to embark on large-scale eLearning developments, which by their scale can prove problematic. In part because it is a long time before the school or organisation sees any benefit and there is an up-front cost before any learning value is realised. In this paper we will be discussing our experiences of the implementation of a large-scale blended-learning project at Unitec, a tertiary institution in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Approaches taken to implement the development were iterative and based on a phased rollout, with each subsequent stage being informed by the ones before it. Our discussion draws on personal reflections associated with three different perspectives and a variety of roles during the three initial phases of the change making process. Our overall aim is to share our contextualised experiences, to add to the knowledge base on blended learning, and to provide some general, practical recommendations.
Abstract: This paper draws on an initiative where we experienced being new, radical, and, from some viewpoints, dangerously progressive at Unitec—a Polytechnic/Institute of Technology in Aotearoa, New Zealand. The initiative was driven by a need to improve student experiences of interdisciplinary learning and teaching, and to develop a common semester for students transitioning to a bachelor degree programme, as well as a new suite of interdisciplinary qualifications at postgraduate level. This discussion paper is situated within a self-study paradigm befitting educational contexts, by drawing on the reflective narratives of three participants who held a range of different roles—and, hence, perspectives within the change process. Interpretations and implications are discussed using the lens of the Inclusive Framework, to illustrate personal, professional, and political elements. Our overall aim is to add to current understandings of change within the higher education sector. However, this is a study of our own experiences and we are not making claims that we are in the possession of “truth”, but, rather, we seek to identify aspects that may have relevance in other contexts. We conclude that navigating the next phase of transformative change in our context will involve seeking resolutions to key emerging questions. This includes exploring notions of multiple innovators, creating agile development environments in education and exploring the concept of time as multifaceted.
Abstract: This project work addresses the crucial need to encourage undergraduate civil and environmental engineering students to gain employment skills and training right from the start of their studies so that their overall employability increases; their confidence level in networking with industry and within the workplace increases; and so that they are successfully able to obtain employment after finishing their studies. This initiative is a stepping-stone employability exercise which focuses specifically on first year students to help them engage with industry right from the start of their course. It is proposed that they would gain some realistic work experience both individually and as part of group within a virtual work environment using an action learning approach. The virtual environment used was based on SecondLife,a popular virtual reality programme. A pilot scheme was set up and run at Brunel University during the summer of 2014 using eight self-selecting first year students. The scheme’s outputs were extensively monitored and evaluated to assess its impact on the development of employability skills. This approach may prove a cost effective way of letting students gain an insight into the workplace whilst improving these skills. It may also prove a way for employers to select from a large range of students the best to actually undertake their real work-based internships.