Special Issue "Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Mark Brown
Website
Guest Editor
1. Education Section, Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
2. Institute for Learning and Teaching, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
3.Department of Ethnic Studies, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4. Epidemiology Section, Colorado School of Public Health, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
5. Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Shari Lanning

Guest Editor
Education Section, Department of Clinical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Higher education research indicates that student engagement is the most critical factor in retention programs for undergraduate students. Among the high-impact practices, undergraduate research/experiential learning has been shown to have the most positive effects with regard to promoting student engagement. In this Special Issue of Education Sciences, we invite papers related to: teaching innovations incorporating research; training undergraduate research mentors; best practices in undergraduate research; undergraduate research as a high-impact practice; methods for better assessing students, programs, and faculty involved in undergraduate research; case studies; and models for engaging students in undergraduate research. Original research papers, reviews, commentaries, and cases studies are welcome.

Dr. Mark Brown
Dr. Shari Lanning
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • student engagement
  • innovations in education
  • faculty-mentored undergraduate research
  • high-impact retention practices

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(3), 160; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9030160 - 26 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Higher education research indicates that student engagement is the most critical factor in retention programs for undergraduate students (Upcraft, Gardner and Barefoot, 2005; Tinto, 2012; Pascarella, Seifert, and Whitt, 2008). These studies illustrate that if students do not feel engaged, they are at [...] Read more.
Higher education research indicates that student engagement is the most critical factor in retention programs for undergraduate students (Upcraft, Gardner and Barefoot, 2005; Tinto, 2012; Pascarella, Seifert, and Whitt, 2008). These studies illustrate that if students do not feel engaged, they are at high risk for leaving their institution prematurely. Among high impact practices, undergraduate research has been shown to have the most positive effects with regard to promoting student engagement (Kuh, 2018; Kuh, 2008). Herein we highlight the use of mentored research as a high impact practice in undergraduate education, Further, we call upon the education community to share their models, approaches, observations, and research findings related to undergraduate research initiatives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Active Learning: Subtypes, Intra-Exam Comparison, and Student Survey in an Undergraduate Biology Course
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(7), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10070185 - 20 Jul 2020
Abstract
Active learning improves undergraduate STEM course comprehension; however, student comprehension using different active learning methods and student perception of active learning have not been fully explored. We analyze ten semesters (six years) of an undergraduate biology course (honors and non-honors sections) to understand [...] Read more.
Active learning improves undergraduate STEM course comprehension; however, student comprehension using different active learning methods and student perception of active learning have not been fully explored. We analyze ten semesters (six years) of an undergraduate biology course (honors and non-honors sections) to understand student comprehension and student satisfaction using a variety of active learning methods. First, we describe and introduce active learning subtypes. Second, we explore the efficacy of active learning subtypes. Third, we compare student comprehension between course material taught with active learning or lecturing within a course. Finally, we determine student satisfaction with active learning using a survey. We divide active learning into five subtypes based on established learning taxonomies and student engagement. We explore subtype comprehension efficacy (median % correct) compared to lecture learning (median 92% correct): Recognition (100%), Reflective (100%), Exchanging (94.1%), Constructive (93.8%), and Analytical (93.3%). A bivariate random intercept model adjusted by honors shows improved exam performance in subsequent exams and better course material comprehension when taught using active learning compared to lecture learning (2.2% versus 1.2%). The student survey reveals a positive trend over six years of teaching in the Perceived Individual Utility component of active learning (tau = 0.21, p = 0.014), but not for the other components (General Theoretical Utility, and Team Situation). We apply our findings to the COVID-19 pandemic and suggest active learning adaptations for newly modified online courses. Overall, our results suggest active learning subtypes may be useful for differentiating student comprehension, provide additional evidence that active learning is more beneficial to student comprehension, and show that student perceptions of active learning are positively changing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Learning Strategies and Future Orientation on Academic Success: The Moderating Role of Academic Self-Efficacy among Italian Undergraduate Students
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(5), 134; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10050134 - 09 May 2020
Abstract
Promoting academic success among undergraduate students is crucial for tackling the need to foster employability competencies. Low levels of academic attainment in higher education, along with the increasing number of persons participating in tertiary education, represent crucial trends, which need to be studied [...] Read more.
Promoting academic success among undergraduate students is crucial for tackling the need to foster employability competencies. Low levels of academic attainment in higher education, along with the increasing number of persons participating in tertiary education, represent crucial trends, which need to be studied in order to develop efficient retention practices. The current study aimed to investigate the relationship between relevant factors that can foster academic success: learning strategies, future orientation, and academic self-efficacy. To this purpose, a longitudinal study was performed on a sample of N = 87 undergraduate students from one of the largest Italian universities (63.4% males, 74.2% enrolled in the first year). Participants filled in an online questionnaire at two different time points, with a time lag of 12 months. Results of a moderated mediation model indicated that the relationship between learning strategies at Time 1 (T1) and Grade Point Average (GPA) at Time 2 (T2) was mediated by students’ future orientation. Moreover, this association was moderated by T1 academic self-efficacy. These results suggest that learning strategies positively influence GPA through an enhanced future orientation, in particular when students report high or medium levels of self-efficacy. The current findings invite a thorough review of training interventions for improving academic achievement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
A Learning Community Involving Collaborative Course-Based Research Experiences for Foundational Chemistry Laboratories
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(4), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10040117 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Numerous American national committees have recommended the replacement of traditional labs with a more engaging curriculum that inspires inquiry and enhances scientific skills (examples include the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)’s Engage to Excel program and American Association for [...] Read more.
Numerous American national committees have recommended the replacement of traditional labs with a more engaging curriculum that inspires inquiry and enhances scientific skills (examples include the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)’s Engage to Excel program and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Vision and Change, among others), due to a large body of evidence that shows significant enhancements in student learning and affective outcomes. The implementation of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) is a creative way to scale up the deployment of authentic research experiences to students. Another highly regarded high-impact practice in postsecondary education is the addition of learning communities. The integration of a three-course learning community and authentic research experiences to laboratory courses adds both a community of scholarship and a development of scientific communication and process skills. This study describes a course that blends these two high-impact practices in higher education in order to promote greater post-course gains in essential elements of a CURE curriculum. This collaborative course shows large post-course gains in essential elements, such as scientific communication and working collaboratively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Pharmacy Students’ Knowledge and Perception of Scientific Integrity
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10020041 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Scientific integrity, proper research conduct and avoiding research misconduct including plagiarism, fabrication and falsification, are all essential to all disciplines. Since research experience is a recommended skill to gain during undergraduate education, undergraduate students need to be aware of research misconduct in order [...] Read more.
Scientific integrity, proper research conduct and avoiding research misconduct including plagiarism, fabrication and falsification, are all essential to all disciplines. Since research experience is a recommended skill to gain during undergraduate education, undergraduate students need to be aware of research misconduct in order to avoid it. This study was carried out to determine the level of knowledge and awareness regarding research misconduct, and the independent factors that might contribute to attitudes towards research misconduct. In this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was self-filled by pharmacy undergraduate students about their knowledge of practices in research misconduct. Among the respondents (n=800), 79.12% had poor knowledge, whereas 20.88% had good knowledge about research misconduct and research ethics. Furthermore, only 9% indicated having previous training in research conduct/misconduct, whereas 36.5% had previous training in research ethics. In conclusion, this study reflects insufficient knowledge and awareness about research misconduct concepts and their main terminologies among undergraduate pharmacy students, which emphasizes the importance of implanting proper training programs/courses on research ethics during students’ academic years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
Open AccessArticle
University Student Satisfaction and Skill Acquisition: Evidence from the Undergraduate Dissertation
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10020029 - 25 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
One of the main objectives of the Undergraduate Dissertation is to evaluate the skills associated with a degree. Student satisfaction with the training and skills acquired can be an indicator of the quality of higher education. This paper aims to analyse student satisfaction [...] Read more.
One of the main objectives of the Undergraduate Dissertation is to evaluate the skills associated with a degree. Student satisfaction with the training and skills acquired can be an indicator of the quality of higher education. This paper aims to analyse student satisfaction with Undergraduate Dissertation at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). Based on a survey conducted among 130 students (75.7% of a total of 172 students who presented their UD during the academic year 2013–2014), structural equation modelling was applied to analyse the influence on satisfaction of aspects related to intellectual curiosity and the perception of acquired skills. The results show that the perception of the skills acquired play a crucial role in students’ satisfaction with Undergraduate Satisfaction, conditioned by their perceived future usefulness and backed by personality and motivation elements that encourage their acquisition. The results confirm the significant role played by the tutor, who emerges as an element that boosts the central relations of the model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrating Undergraduate Research into Social Science Curriculum: Benefits and Challenges of Two Models
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040296 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Evidence shows that undergraduate research is beneficial to students during their college years and beyond. This study evaluates two models for integrating undergraduate research into the college curriculum: (1) integrating a community-based research project into a social science course and (2) designing a [...] Read more.
Evidence shows that undergraduate research is beneficial to students during their college years and beyond. This study evaluates two models for integrating undergraduate research into the college curriculum: (1) integrating a community-based research project into a social science course and (2) designing a senior seminar course as an undergraduate research experience. Findings show that students benefit from a hands-on research experience that deepens their understanding of both survey methods and social issues. While, students who participated in the community-based research project enjoyed interacting with community members and learning about community concerns, students in the senior seminar research experience ranked all aspects of the research project more favorably than students participating in the community-based research project. We discuss the benefits and challenges of both models as well as the implications of these findings and the steps instructors can take to improve the learning experience of undergraduates in the social sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
Open AccessArticle
Undergraduate Disabled Students as Knowledge Producers including Researchers: A Missed Topic in Academic Literature
Educ. Sci. 2019, 9(4), 259; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci9040259 - 23 Oct 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Research experience is beneficial for undergraduate students for many reasons. For example, it is argued in academic literature and in reports produced by various organizations that engage with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and science education that undergraduate research experience increases [...] Read more.
Research experience is beneficial for undergraduate students for many reasons. For example, it is argued in academic literature and in reports produced by various organizations that engage with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and science education that undergraduate research experience increases the graduation rate in STEM disciplines as well as the amount of students thinking about STEM careers. As such, being researchers should also be of benefit to undergraduate disabled students in all disciplines including STEM education. However, given that undergraduate disabled students encounter many problems within post-secondary education, including STEM education, undergraduate disabled students might encounter problems in becoming researchers. Policies are to be guided by knowledge and evidence. However, knowledge and evidence deficits exist in relation to the lived experience of disabled people. Undergraduate disabled students could decrease the knowledge deficit as researchers and knowledge producers. The numbers of disabled academic faculty are judged as being too low and efforts are under way to increase the number of disabled academics. Increasing the number of undergraduate disabled researchers might increase the available pool of disabled students that pursue an academic career. Given the important role research performed by undergraduate disabled students can play and given that many studies highlight problems for disabled students in post-secondary education in general, we used a scoping review approach to investigate the coverage of undergraduate disabled students as knowledge producers, including as researchers, in the academic literature. Using various search strategies, we obtained 1299 initial hits. However, only 15 had relevant content. No study investigated how undergraduate disabled students select their research topics or how they are enticed to pursue research projects outside of a course-based framework. No study looked at the linkage between being an undergraduate disabled researcher and career choices or using the obtained research skills on the undergraduate level in one’s role as a community member after graduation. Our findings suggest an opportunity for many fields, ranging from disability studies to STEM education, to generate more empirical data and conceptual work on the role of undergraduate disabled students as knowledge producers including as researchers. Such studies could help to increase the numbers of undergraduate disabled students as knowledge producers, including researchers, which in turn could help to increase (a) the number of disabled academics, (b) the number of disabled students who perform research in the community after graduation, (c) the degree success of disabled students and (d) the knowledge available on the social situation of disabled people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Impact of Undergraduate Research Journals on the Scholarly World: Present but Small
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(11), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10110338 - 18 Nov 2020
Abstract
Background: Undergraduate research journals are a popular mechanism for inducting students into research, communication, and publication facets of academia. A thematic review of 17 review papers found little evidence for journal impact. Methods: A scoping review identified 91 journals. A systematic search identified [...] Read more.
Background: Undergraduate research journals are a popular mechanism for inducting students into research, communication, and publication facets of academia. A thematic review of 17 review papers found little evidence for journal impact. Methods: A scoping review identified 91 journals. A systematic search identified the journal website, its International Standard Serial Number (if any), its citation rate on Google Scholar, its start year and end year (if applicable). Results: Seventy-five journals had both a Google Scholar h-index and a discoverable start year. Sixty-eight had been cited one or more times. The median h-index was 2, mode was h = 1, and the average h-index = 4.38. Correlation with start year was not statistically significant, neither was content field of journals. Conclusions: Surprisingly, almost all currently published journals have been cited at least once, showing that undergraduate research journals have some impact on the scholarly world. Further analyses are suggested to examine career impact of publication on students and faculty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Undergraduate Research as a High Impact Practice in Higher Education)
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