2011-2012 Funded Projects

Measuring Efficacy for Culturally Responsive Classroom Management

S. Michael Putman

Abstract: Classroom management represents an area of concern for both preservice and practicing teachers, especially those working with diverse groups of children in urban environments. Given the College of Education’s focus on preparing candidates to work in such environments and with all children, it is critical that faculty engage in examinations into the impact of our work on teaching candidate’s knowledge, skills and dispositions, including their beliefs about themselves as teachers, relative to both classroom management and diversity. The purpose of this proposal is to facilitate such examinations through the creation and validation of an instrument, the Self-Efficacy for Culturally Responsive Management Scale (SCReM). Designed to measure teaching efficacy for managing classrooms that consist of diverse groups of children, SCReM will be used to assess the impact of coursework that integrates content on diversity and classroom management on candidates’ beliefs in these areas. The long-term objective of investigations using SCReM is to allow the Department of Reading and Elementary Education to accurately examine the impact of coursework and enact and document programmatic changes as based on data, which will be especially important within our preparation for an upcoming accreditation visit.

Full proposal: Measuring Efficacy for Culturally Responsive Classroom Management [PDF, 900 KB]

Collaborative work within Optical Engineering: Ethnography and curricular development in the proposed undergraduate concentration in optical engineering in MEES at UNC Charlotte

Donna M. Lanclos, Matt Davies, Chris Evans, Thomas Suleski

Abstract: The purpose of this project is to conduct ethnographic research that will:

1. inform the creation and continuing development of the proposed
undergraduate concentration in Optical Engineering in The Department of
Mechanical Engineering and Engineering Sciences (MEES) at UNC
Charlotte. And
2. Stimulate efforts to improve the efficacy of cross-cultural and crossdisciplinary
Optical Engineering graduate study and research in Optical Science and Engineering

This project addresses the need to examine and describe academic and professional work practices in Optical Engineering. Its attention to the professional and curricular needs of UNC Charlotte undergraduates addresses University Strategic Goal #8, “to graduate students with the breadth and depth of knowledge and the intellectual and professional skills that prepare them for a productive life in an ever-changing world.” The proposed research will be conducted by an interdisciplinary team, and concerns itself with the nature of interdisciplinary research in Optical Engineering, and the instructional and research preparation required of scholars in that field, and so addresses Academic Affairs’ strategic goal #2: “To advance programs of research and scholarship that expand the frontiers of knowledge…[that]… solve problems at the interface of disciplines and leverage discovery for the public benefit. Conducting the research and discussing and distributing the results addresses University Strategic Goal # 2, “to increase both faculty and student research that will address fundamental and regional problems.”

Full proposal: Collaborative work within Optical Engineering: Ethnography and curricular development in the proposed undergraduate concentration in optical engineering in MEES at UNC Charlotte [PDF, 519 KB]

A Study of the Effect of Instructor Feedback and Students’ Written Reflections on the Oral Communication Skills of Electrical Engineering Students

Nan BouSaba, Jean Coco, James Conrad, Robert Cox, Mehdi Miri

Abstract: The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department and the Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC) program propose funding for the first implementation year of a two-year research project to study the impact of instructors’ written feedback and students’ written reflections on electrical engineering students’ speaking skills. Four design courses—sophomore, junior, and two senior design classes—provide the project’s framework. The research involves assessing the presentations of a select group of project students and an equal number of control group students, beginning with the sophomore design class and continuing through the two senior design courses.

We will first give project students feedback on an analytic rubric, then they will view their videotaped presentations and write a reflective paper on their performances. The control group will not receive feedback, although their presentations will be scored using the rubric. At the conclusion of the senior design class, a statistical analysis of the data is expected to support the project’s overall objective: that students’ speaking skills will improve with multiple opportunities for practice and feedback.

The ECE department will benefit because communication skills are criteria by which the department is judged for accreditation. The university community will benefit from the knowledge created because our findings will address oral communication goals stated in the UNC Tomorrow report. We see this project as having the potential to increase student engagement in the discipline, and hope it will become a campus-wide model of how pedagogical revision can speak to the objectives of the Quality Enhancement Program.

Full proposal: A Study of the Effect of Instructor Feedback and Students’ Written Reflections on the Oral Communication Skills of Electrical Engineering Students PDF [632 KB]

Redesigning Online Deductive Logic to Improve Retention

Daniel R. Boisvert & Marvin J. Croy

Abstract: PHIL 2105 Deductive Logic is a required course for a major in Philosophy and satisfies a Mathematics and Logical Reasoning requirement in the General Education program. Over the past three years, the Department of Philosophy has developed and implemented a fully online section of Deductive Logic. The central problem thus far in our online sections of the course is its high attrition rate (which we are defining as its DWF rate), which is twice that of comparable face-to-face sections of Deductive Logic (60% to 29%). After a brief review of the literature concerning the causes of attrition in online courses, we have hypothesized four factors contributing to our own high attrition rate: inadequate student-to-student and student-to-faculty interaction; unintuitive course web site design that also failed to adequately contextualize the course material; little sense of community; and unrealistic student expectations regarding the difficulty of online learning. We have since created and implemented a variety of course design and web site modifications (e.g. required group activities, several mandatory live sessions, more audio and video elements, orientation section of the course, and more). Using Moodle report data, student grades, Community of Inquiry course evaluations, and student interviews, we now aim to determine whether these modifications have led to increased interaction, more intuitive course navigation and conceptualization, a deeper sense of community, more realistic student expectations of what is required for successful online learning, and ultimately, higher retention.

Full proposal: Redesigning Online Deductive Logic to Improve Retention [PDF, 227 KB]

The German Cello School: An Anthology and Recording of Student Pieces from the 18th and 19th Centuries

Mira Frisch

Abstract: I am applying for a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grant to create an anthology and recording of six German pieces that were written in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries specifically for developing cellists. Although these works are widely considered to be important to the musical and technical development of student cellists, several of them are out of print, there is no published collection that groups them together, and few of them have been professionally recorded. My anthology and recording should dramatically improve my ability to teach Applied Cello (MUPF 1051 and MUPF 1251) at UNC Charlotte because my students will have access to sheet music and a professional recording of works that are ideal for undergraduates. An anonymous survey to cello students and teachers will allow me to ascertain the effectiveness of my project. In order to disseminate my work beyond my cello studio at UNC Charlotte, I will give a pedagogy clinic on my materials to local school orchestra teachers and to UNC Charlotte music students. State and national conference presentations will help me reach cello students and teachers on a national level and eventual publication of my anthology and recording will lead to international exposure.

Full propsal: The German Cello School: An Anthology and Recording of Student Pieces from the 18th and 19th Centuries [PDF, 1.03 MB]