2018-2019 Funded Projects

Effects of Flipping the Classroom and Implementing Peer Communication Consultants (CxC) on Written communication Skills in a Writing-Intensive Elective Course, Biol 4244/5244: Conservation Biology

Carrie Wells & Michelle Pass

Abstract: We propose to implement a flipped classroom and embed peer communication consultants from CxC in the writing-intensive elective course in Biological Sciences, Biol 4244/5244: Conservation Biology. We will use a controlled study to measure qualitative and quantitative differences in student outcomes, including those related to written communication, between a traditionally taught face-to-face lecture course and a flipped-lecture environment that both incorporate peer communication consultants. We predict that students in the flipped classroom environment will demonstrate higher outcomes than students who learn in a traditionally taught lecture environment due to having increased class time to practice the development of written communication skills. The results of our study will provide a valuable framework for the future development and implementation of additional writing-intensive courses in Biological Sciences, and will help inform the best uses of peer communication consultants in other Biological Sciences courses as well.

Full Proposal: Effects of Flipping the Classroom and Implementing Peer Communication Consultants (CxC) on Written communication Skills in a Writing-Intensive Elective Course, Biol 4244/5244: Conservation Biolog [PDF, 505KB]

Multi Discipline Collaboration in the Teaching of Inquiry and Critical Thinking

Consuelo Carr Salas, Kim Looby, & Natalie Ornat

Abstract: The goal of this study is to assess the impact of faculty and librarian collaborative curriculum on student learning of the inquiry process. The researchers’ curriculum is specifically focused on providing students with the skills and knowledge to complete their inquiry projects, such as generating research questions, effectively searching for and evaluating the credibility and usefulness of sources, and integrating sources within LBST 2301 Critical Thinking and Communication. Through the lenses of information literacy in the field of Library Science and rhetoric and writing studies in the field of Rhetoric and Composition, the researchers have created a curriculum that guides student through the “inquiry and analysis, and evaluation and synthesis of information” processes (UNCC Academic Affairs Assessment, 2018). Information literacy pertains to the ability to identify, evaluate, and apply information sources effectively when seeking and using information for a variety of purposes. These skills are necessary for students to be critically engaged citizens in an information saturated world. Dependent upon the results of our study, this project aims to disseminate this curricular structure as a model to promote and encourage library/faculty collaborations and present models for varying levels of collaboration in and out of the classroom in an effort to optimize students’ inquiry process and ultimately their critical thinking.

Full Proposal: Multi Discipline Collaboration in the Teaching of Inquiry and Critical Thinking [PDF, 1.33MB]

Examining the Impact of Case-Based Discussions on Student’s Cognitive Presence and Learning Outcomes in Online Courses

Ayesha Sadaf & Stella Kim

Abstract: Case studies hold great potential for engaging students in disciplinary content and facilitating deep and meaningful approaches to learning. It is one of the promising approaches used to facilitate high-level learning in online courses. The importance of cognitive presence to generate high-level learning in online environments are well documented in literature. The concept of cognitive presence emerged from the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework proposed by Garrison, Anderson, and Archer (2001) to guide the use of online learning environments in support of social constructivist approach to learning. However, little is known about online case-based discussions and their impact on cognitive presence and learning outcomes in online courses. Therefore, the purpose of this project is to implement case-based discussions in an online course and evaluate its impact on students’ cognitive presence and learning outcomes related to their grades, learning processes, and satisfaction. A quantitative research method will be used for the evaluation and a qualitative data will be used to strengthen the findings obtained from the quantitative data. The results of this study will enhance the quality of teaching and learning strategies used in the 100% Online Master’s Program courses in Instructional Systems Technology (IST) in the College of Education at UNC Charlotte. Additionally, guidelines to use case-based discussions to facilitate cognitive presence in online courses will be shared with UNC Charlotte community and with the larger audience who teach online courses through presentation and publication. 

Full Proposal: Examining the Impact of Case-Based Discussions on Student’s Cognitive Presence and Learning Outcomes in Online Courses [PDF, 530KB]

Randomized Controlled Study to Determine the Best Teaching Practices in Nurse Practitioner Education

Tonya Rutherford-Hemming & Katherine Shue McGuffin

Abstract: The purpose of this two-year study is to evaluate best practices in teaching Nurse Practitioner (NP) students to assess, recognize, and manage patients with nonmalignant versus malignant skin lesions through simulation versus traditional lecture at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. NP students entering into primary care practice currently demonstrate low levels of knowledge related to skin cancer assessments, history taking, and recognition of skin lesions. The curriculum in advanced practice programs should provide a proper foundation for practice. Simulation allows students to practice skills in a realistic environment, which will enhance their knowledge of dermatologic assessments. This study uses a randomized controlled crossover design with repeated measures. The data analysis consists of descriptive statistical techniTues and inferential statistical methods. Student-centered outcomes including an improvement in knoZledge and confidence level will be measured. The sequencing of simulation and traditional lecture will also be measured. The results of the study will provide essential information to NP faculty, simulation faculty, and general providers regarding the best method of incorporating dermatologic education into NP curricula. This study will add to the body of knowledge, guide dermatologic and simulation education, and address the healthcare needs of the greater Charlotte region and beyond. Increasing efficacy of skin assessments and recognition of nonmalignant and malignant lesions in NP curricula may enhance early detection and treatment of skin cancer, thereby improving patient outcomes. 

Full Proposal: Randomized Controlled Study to Determine the Best Teaching Practices in Nurse Practitioner Education {PDF, 795KB]

Peer Supervision: Preparing Social Work Students to Thrive in an Evolving Workforce

Ticola Ross & Frances Ferrante

Abstract: This study will serve as a pilot and evaluation model for peer supervision amongst undergraduate and foundation year graduate social work students who are participating in internships required by the UNC Charlotte School of Social Work. Specific to social work internships, students are required to attend weekly supervision meetings with a degreed and experienced supervisor. While supervision in the aforementioned terms are required, the project seeks to evaluate alternative means for preparing students for post-graduation careers. Peer supervision is often utilized by social work professionals as means for professional development and described as “...any facilitated, planned or ad hoc interactions with colleagues of similar experiences levels....for the purposes of clinical training, professional development, and mutual aid and affinity” (Golia & McGovern n.d.). This study seeks to evaluate peer supervision as a tool to support students and enhance their internship experience. In the ever-changing workforce, students are frequently faced with new demands and barriers to learning. The pilot peer supervision model aims to provide peer support through peer group interactions, increase the student’s confidence in critical thinking abilities, assist in developing their professional skills, and, to evaluate student’s perceived usefulness of this model. While evaluation of this pilot will take place within the social work program, the information gathered from this project may be useful to other disciplines at UNC Charlotte that require internships. Results from this project will be disseminated to the UNC Charlotte community and to other social work programs at the state and national levels. 

Full Proposal: Peer Supervision: Preparing Social Work Students to Thrive in an Evolving Workforce [PDF, 782KB]

Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) for Online Writing-intensive Courses: Learning Outcomes and Student Perceptions using Direct and Indirect Assessment

Monica Rodriguez-Castro & Paloma Fernandez Sanchez 

Abstract: Embracing the university’s mission to better serve our student body, the Department of Languages and Culture Studies (LCS) is expanding the online course offerings of the writing-intensive course SPAN 3019(W) Hispanic Women Writers in Translation. While this course offers many potential advantages, there are some unanswered questions about student learning and teaching effectiveness. For example, how do student perceptions differ in online courses versus face-to-face (F2F) delivery, specifically in W courses? Despite schedule-related advantages, among others, what are student perceptions about this mode of delivery with a Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) pedagogy? How does the mode of delivery affect the students' achievement of learning outcomes? These questions are at the core of our project. The main objectives are to evaluate the impact of this instructional method and mode of delivery on student perceptions of the course, and to gain insight into student learning in such a course. 

We intend to perform a comparative study of F2F versus online sections of SPAN 3019(W) by performing direct and indirect assessment to compare the outcomes between the two groups. Direct assessment will include summative assessment that uses student performance in multiple writing assignments. Indirect assessment will include multiple questionnaires that assess student perceptions of learning. The data analysis will include descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, and parametric group comparisons using t-tests. If successful, this course could be offered over the summer with higher enrollments, thereby providing students opportunities for early graduation.

Full Proposal: Partially Flipped Classroom (PFC) for Online Writing-intensive Courses: Learning Outcomes and Student Perceptions using Direct and Indirect Assessment [PDF, 380KB]

Enhancing baccalaureate nursing students’ readiness for professional practice with multi-patient simulations using telehealth to create opportunities for interprofessional collaboration

Kelly Powers & Wendy Neustrup

Abstract: Healthcare is provided by diverse interprofessional teams. To narrow the gap between education and practice it is vital for pre-licensure nursing students to practice collaborating with other healthcare team members. However, students report few experiences with interprofessional collaboration prior to graduation, both at UNC Charlotte and nationally. This project seeks to improve student learning outcomes by providing opportunities to practice communicating and collaborating with other health professionals using simulation augmented with telehealth technology, thereby addressing the School of Nursing (SON) goal of increasing use of simulation technology and the College of Health and Human Services (CHHS) goals of promoting innovation and interdisciplinary approaches. A mixed methods approach will be utilized to examine using simulations with telehealth to facilitate interprofessional collaboration for baccalaureate nursing students. Aims are to: 1) evaluate the effect of the simulations on students’ attainment of interprofessional collaboration competencies and amount of collaboration in the clinical setting, 2) explore students’ simulation experiences and perceived readiness to transition to practice as part of an interprofessional team, and 3) assess students’ satisfaction and self-confidence following the simulations. The study intervention is two telehealth-augmented, multi-patient interprofessional simulations with standardized patients. Data will be collected at four timepoints in Spring 2019. Quantitative measures will include the Interprofessional Collaborative Competency Attainment Survey, self-reported amount of clinical interprofessional collaboration, and Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning instrument. Repeated-measures ANOVA will be used to detect significant changes. Focus groups will be conducted to explore students’ simulation experiences and perceived readiness for interprofessional practice. 

Full Proposal: Enhancing baccalaureate nursing students’ readiness for professional practice with multi-patient simulations using telehealth to create opportunities for interprofessional collaboration [PDF, 476KB]

Writing- and Speaking-to-Learn in the Large Lecture Course

Amanda Pipkin

Abstract: The large lecture classroom continues to be one of the most useful, and challenging, types of educational settings. The purpose of this one-year project is to investigate the impact of employing writing- and speaking-to-learn strategies in large lecture survey courses within the history major (especially HIST 1121 and 1161) and as part of the general education requirements (LBST) of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at UNC Charlotte. The main objectives of this study are to evaluate student success using quantitative and qualitative means and to provide recommendations on the incorporation of specific student activities. The goal is to encourage practices that help students take responsibility for their own learning, to get more involved in large lecture courses, to organize and synthesize course material, and to motive them to improve their writing, oral presentation, and critical thinking skills. 

Full Proposal: Writing- and Speaking-to-Learn in the Large Lecture Course [PDF, 414KB]

Students’ Writing Success at the University of North Carolina Charlotte: The Effects of Advanced Placement Exemptions

Angela Mitchell

Abstract: Effective written communication is an institutional-level outcome at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC Charlotte). For many of our undergraduates, foundational writing instruction comes from the first-year writing (FYW) UWRT 1103 or 1104 course, “Writing and Inquiry in Academic Contexts.” Recent Board of Governors changes in the system-wide policy requires college credit for first-year writing be given students who pass the high school Advanced Placement (AP) exam with a score of three or better. This means a greater number of UNC Charlotte students will be exempt from taking UWRT 1103 or 1104 than ever before. This project investigates how well undergraduates transfer the writing knowledge and skills they developed in high school AP classes to subsequent writing in their courses during their first-year at UNC Charlotte. We intend to conduct a mixed-methods study of the writing of students with AP scores of 3, 4, and 5 that exempt them from UWRT 1103/1104. The results will complement our existing research on students’ transfer of writing skills from FYW to subsequent classes and will inform the FYW curriculum.

Full Proposal: Students’ Writing Success at the University of North Carolina Charlotte: The Effects of Advanced Placement Exemptions [PDF, 287KB]

Exploring the Teaching and Learning of Functions

Adalira Saenz-Ludlow & Anna Athanasopoulou

Abstract: This project is a semester long teaching-experiment that examines a holistic and developmental approach of the teaching and learning of functions. The study examines the effectiveness of a teaching-learning intervention of the concept of function and families of functions which is nothing else than the actual curriculum of the Pre-calculus course at UNCC. The concept of function provides the foundation for STEM, business, and other majors because of its fundamental significance in any area of knowledge that has to do with mathematics and statistics. Although this concept is part of the mathematics high school curriculum, students arrive to this course with disconnected meanings. If we can improve students’ conceptualization of functions, then we accomplish an important mission of our department by preparing the recruitment pool for STEM and other majors for future mathematics courses. The project’s teaching-learning intervention includes: (a) scaffolding of the curriculum through tasks that guide inquiry, reading, interpretation, writing, and reflection; it refocuses the traditional course content to emphasize both the concept of function and the invariances of functions across families as well as problem solving in real-world applications; (b) scaffolding students’ involvement on their own learning; and (c) constant academic support for each of the four pretest-test-posttest sequences on each family of functions. We will assess the effectiveness of the above teaching-learning intervention of the concept of function and families of functions through a variety of quantitative measures (scores on all four pretest-test-posttest sequence of tests and the common final exam). 

Full Proposal: Exploring the Teaching and Learning of Functions [PDF, 504KB]

How Does the Use of a Mobile Application Impact Learning Among Clinical Nursing Students in Patient Care Settings?

Lee-Ann T. Kenny & Teresa Gaston

Abstract: The use of mobile technology for teaching and learning is transforming academia (Day-Black & Merrill, 2015). The overarching goal is to continuously improve and advance our teaching in the School of Nursing, while pursuing innovative educational ideas. The purpose of this research study is to implement an innovative, educational intervention to undergraduate nursing students in the patient care setting, and then evaluate its impact on knowledge, skills, anxiety, and self-efficacy. This study is a mixed methods design, with a convenience sample size of ~100 undergraduate nursing students and ~20 clinical nursing faculty. The educational intervention will include the use of a mobile scanning application, as well as a smartphone or electronic tablet device, and newly created codes that will be loaded with essential educational materials that students need while in clinicals at the point of patient care. A variety of data will be collected pre and post the educational mobile application intervention. Descriptive statistics as well as parametric/nonparametric analyses will be conducted for the quantitative data; while the qualitative data will be reviewed and summarized for common themes. By integrating technology-based education at the point of patient care, this may have the potential to better connect the knowledge and theory learned in the classroom setting to the actual patient care performed at the bedside. If nursing students can improve their knowledge, skills, anxiety levels, and self-efficacy, this may better support their successful transition to professional practicing nurses in the healthcare environment.

Full Proposal: How Does the Use of a Mobile Application Impact Learning Among Clinical Nursing Students in Patient Care Settings? [PDF, 516KB]

Examining the impact of open and transparent research practices in an undergraduate research methods course in Psychology

Alexia Galati & Douglas Markant

Abstract: Over the past decade, in response to the so-called “replication crisis”, psychology researchers have begun adopting practices that promote openness and transparency. Currently, these emerging best practices are not consistently represented in the teaching of Psychology research methods at UNCC. Moreover, research in pedagogy has not systematically examined whether introducing undergraduates to open science practices improves their conceptual understanding of research methods. In the proposed work, we seek to evaluate the impact of integrating open science practices into the curriculum of PSYC2103: Research Methods II (RM2). We will implement this integration through: (i) an Open Science module that situates questionable research practices in the current norms of science and identifies possible solutions, and (ii) practical tools for performing open and robust research, mapped on traditional RM2 components (e.g., labs will use open datasets and open-source statistical platforms; research proposals will be pre-registered on the Open Science Framework). We will develop and validate an Open Science Concept Inventory (OSCI) (Studies 1 & 2) to evaluate the Open Science module, and additional assessments to evaluate the practical tools. Evaluation of the new materials will take place over two implementation rounds (Study 3 - Fall 2019; Study 4 - Spring 2020). All material developed will be shared through OSF and as a Canvas course that can be adopted by other instructors. By providing validated tools that are easily integrated into existing curricula, we aim to facilitate the adoption of open science practices and to provide undergraduates the conceptual foundations for conducting robust and transparent research. 

Full Proposal: Examining the impact of open and transparent research practices in an undergraduate research methods course in Psychology [PDF, 855KB]

Does Practice Make Perfect? Evaluating the Impact of Deliberate Practice and Coaching in Teacher Training

Hilary Dack & Scott Kissau

Abstract: Faced with declining interest in becoming a teacher, increasing competition from cheaper and faster alternative licensure programs, and growing criticism that teacher training is too theoretical, university-based teacher training programs must evolve to remain viable. Following receipt of a grant to inform and guide its curriculum reform, the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education, in the Cato College of Education, has redesigned its graduate initial licensure programs to make them more convenient, cost-effective, and time-sensitive, while improving quality by becoming more practice-based, and attentive to high-leverage (focus) practices and opportunities for candidate rehearsal and coaching. Scheduled to be launched in summer (2019), the Department seeks to investigate the impact of this program re-design. Using a mixed methodology, the research team plans to use interview data, scores from an externally-scored performance-based assessment (edTPA), the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and enrollment numbers to investigate the impact of this re-design on teacher candidate preparation, performance, and enrollment. The project has the potential to a) enhance teacher candidate preparation, b) improve test scores and graduation rates, c) increase program enrollment, and d) guide and inform the re-design of other initial licensure programs in the Department and across the Cato College of Education. 

Full Proposal: Does Practice Make Perfect? Evaluating the Impact of Deliberate Practice and Coaching in Teacher Training [PDF, 539KB]