Students’ perceptions and approaches to studying: a colloquium cont’d

Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Surfin’ USA (Beach Boys)
Topic: Seminars

Well, didn’t get to finish talking about the seminars yesterday since I had to go to a driving lesson and when I came back I had to go to a meeting for the International Students’ Day Debriefing and then got chatting with Gill. Anyway, here it continues, and continuing with Noel’s presentation which I made the most notes for.

So, was talking about Meyer’s orchestration classification. Noel did a study in 2000 in which he used this classification to describe the clusters of students he found. One of the clusters he described as dissonance had relatively high or similar scores in all the sub-scale for deep and surface and on of the subscale of strategic approach, but had low scores on the organised studying (strategic) subscale.

Not sure if this is anything useful but I guess its a way of grouping of students, not sure if this helps me in anyway in my linear programming research. For example, does being dissonance or having any of the deep, surface or strategic approach affect the way in which students learn using software? I mean is there any literature of that kind?? Is it even worth looking at. What I am getting at theory as far as I know doesn’t point to a difference – but will keep it at the back of my mind.

Noel also mention something he called the 3Es (explanation, enthusiasm and empathy) which he probably attributes to the student’s perception of a course (the 3Es makes me reflect back on the 5Es!! – wondered if he picked that up when he was looking at Checkland’s SSM).

Noel also mentioned that different disciplines/ subject students may have different experiences (this obviously peaked my interest when I heard this statement but he didn’t elaborate too much!).

Noel also talked about a study by Thomas and Bain (not sure of the spelling) in which they found the study approach a student may employ made depend on how students are assessed for example they looked at students being assessed by essays and then followed by multiple choice and found that the multiple choice assessment increased the surface approach scores and lowered the deep approach scores (I think!) – but he said that the students who had high deep approach scores continue to have the highest deep approach scores although not as high as before. Noel goes on to explain it seems easier to induce a surface approach than a deep approach.

Noel described a study that they were doing presently in which they sent of a learning and studying questionnaire at the beginning of a module and a Experiences of Teaching and Learning Questionnaire at the end of the module and then small-group interviews were conducted. They did this for subject areas in electronic engineering, history, biology and economics (hearing all these disciplines again peaked my interest!). It seems now that they are calling strategic approach “organised effort”.

This exercise had a bit of a test-retest experimental behaviour. Of course Campbell and Stanley thought the test-retest was a bit weak (but Noel did supplement his results with interviews so wonder how that works!).

One of the things that Noel said in their pre-test:post-test discussion(since students perception of the course change from the beginning towards the end) is that since LP is taught as a part of a larger course, does the perception of the teaching of LP influenced by how the first part of the course was taught? For example if the student hated how a teacher taught the statistics component will they have a negative attitude to how LP was taught even though it was taught quite alright?

Anyway, got to speak to Noel during coffee since there wasn’t a question session directly after his talk. So, I cornered him during the making of his coffee and told him I was interested in learning and teaching across disciplines and was interested in knowing why he chose the range of subjects to conduct his study. He explained (bit ambiguous but got the gist) that they were aiming to look at the soft, hard and applied disciplines. I reckon he was using a more distilled version of Biglan’s framework. I asked him if his preliminary analysis showed any differences between the disciplines and he did indicate to me (which I did read somewhere) that the humanities and the arts tended to have a deep approach whilst the sciences a more surface approach (not something you wanted to be telling scientists who for years decided they were better than the humanities!). (Although Keith I think in his presentation did mention that these questionnaires were developed from a humanities perspective and may require us to develop questionnaires that are discipline specific). I told Noel that I was doing my research on linear programming so I can have a common ground for comparing these disciplines, as most of the studies tended to amalgamate the different disciplines.

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