Communications faculty present research at ISSOTL conference in Norway

Associate Professors Derek Lackaff, Phillip Motley and Amanda Sturgill attended the 2018 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning conference, which attracts international scholars and educators to share recent work and to discuss how to advance the future of higher education.

School of Communications faculty members Phillip Motley and Amanda Sturgill joined colleague Derek Lackaff in Bergen, Norway, in late October to participate in the 2018 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) conference

Associate Professors Derek Lackaff (from left), Phillip Motley and Amanda Sturgill 
​A recipient of a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award, Lackaff is currently teaching at the University of Bergen and assisting with the launch of new academic programs in interactive media.

The three associate professors presented papers and posters at the 15th annual conference, which draws scholars and educators from around the world to present their work, to learn from one another, and to create transnational and transdisciplinary collaborations focused on the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Here are details and summaries about the research the communications faculty presented:

“Testing the Culture of Completeness: Student Strategies on Note Cards in Exams”
Coauthored by Amanda Sturgill and David Sturgill 

Permitting limited student-created notes in an examination has been found to reduce student anxiety (Erbe, 2007) and improve student success on the exams themselves (Rice, Vogelweid & Kitchel, 2017; Larwin, Gorman & Larwin, 2013). Less is known about student strategies for creating these notes. In particular, laptops in the classroom have encouraged notes that are transcriptions of the board or slides, creating a culture of completeness in notetaking. This study investigates the differential effect of transcriptive vs. integrated notecards on exam performance. Participants discussed strategies for guiding students on better practice for learning from the process of creating notes.

“Design for Engagement: How Faculty Structure and Assess Participation in Global Education Courses”
Coauthored by Derek Lackaff and Matthew Buckmaster 

Short-term global education (STGE) courses have students travelling with an instructor for a period of weeks, and attempt to extend the learning culture of a campus into the wider world. The STGE learning environment typically foregrounds distinctive learner goals, expectations and relationships. “Student engagement” in such a context differs greatly from an on-campus course. Drawing on a content analysis of syllabi and interviews with faculty from a mid-sized, private American university, we explored motivations, goals, and impacts of assessing participation in STGE courses. Although the learning goals of STGE courses may be similar to those of campus-based courses, we found that faculty conceptualize and assess participation in STGE courses in distinctive ways. In this session, we presented multiple learning scenarios to help attendees understand: 1) how participation is conceptualized in STGE courses and 2) how participation is operationalized and assessed in STGE courses. Faculty conceptualize the academic goals and content of STGE differently from those of their campus-based courses, with important implications for student learning, course design, and faculty development. This paper session provided an overview of our findings, suggested themes for discussion and future investigation, and provided opportunities for the audience to share perspectives from their own campus contexts.

“SoTL and the Career Path: Academic Culture Issues within and across Institutions”
Authored by Amanda Sturgill

Understanding teaching and learning is mission-critical for academics. While we have the ability to extend our skills in inquiry to our work with and for students, academics sometimes lack the incentives to do so. This poster presented the impacts on the career path for choosing SoTL work from the perspective of disciplines in the liberal arts and professional schools, with a focus on the impacts on the short-term and longer-term implications for faculty, looking at SoTL conducted in a multi-institutional context.

“Pivot Points: Maximizing the Learning Potential of a Professional Graduate Program”
Coauthored by Phillip Motley and Derek Lackaff

This research poster shared how we have attempted to develop an inclusive learning culture in a diverse professional graduate program in interactive media. We drew on student interviews and programmatic evaluation data to explore (1) the role of the advising process; (2) the design of curricular and co-curricular opportunities; and (3) the messaging provided to students prior to and following admission. We reflected on facilitating meaningful learning experiences that allow students to pivot between academic and professional learning objectives, and demonstrated how best practices are not ad hoc, but programmatically designed and implemented by all faculty.

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