More effective teaching and learning can be promoted through faculty professional development that shifts delivery from instructor-centered, information-transmission teaching by lecture to more student-centered, conceptual-change learning by active learning through student engagement. The National Science Foundation IUSE (Improving Undergraduate STEM Education) project has funded a large-scale faculty development program at a large southwestern university called Just-in-Time-Teaching with Two Way Formative Feedback for Multiple Disciplines (JTFD). The first full year of the project has trained 43 faculty in four of seven disciplines using a train-the-trainer model to engage faculty in year-long apprenticeships on evidence-based instructional strategies (EBIS) for teaching and learning. The first semester of professional development was comprised of 8 biweekly workshops followed by a second semester of 6 disciplinary community of practice (CoP) discussion sessions that supported classroom innovation implementation. These sessions supported participants’ implementation of innovation in their classrooms and discussed issues, opportunities and challenges that faculty encountered as they developed and tested strategies for shifting their classrooms toward greater EBIS practices.
Faculty change related to EBIS and its use was assessed with pre and post surveys with respect to faculty awareness, use, motivation, and practice. For awareness of familiarity of EBIS on topics like effective learning, active learning, and student teams there was a 31% average positive change. For EBIS use on four items of active learning, cooperative learning, objectives and Blooms’ taxonomy there was a 26% increase. To determine motivation to implement EBIS strategies of real-world applications, student-to-student discussions, and formative feedback, a new survey using expectancy-value theory was created called Value, Expectancy, and Cost of Testing Educational Reforms Survey (VECTERS). There were positive gains for all three strategies for motivation (expectancy, value, and lowered cost) and reported and planned use, with the highest gains for real-world applications of 8% to 12%. Teaching with more EBIS student-centered classroom practice was assessed with classroom observations with a tool called Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) which has 25 items related to EBIS practice and is used by trained observers to assess classroom practice. There was a positive gain of 22% for all faculty from pre (early fall) to post (late spring) observations indicating a significant shift toward EBIS classroom practice. For the CoP sessions there was a short post-session quantitative and qualitative survey given for all six sessions. All results were quite positive across the six meetings with Likert scale responses of 4.5 to 4.6 on a 5 point scale on topics such as session relevance to teaching, new ideas for implementation, value of community building, and that collaborative and cooperative strategies can improve instruction effectiveness. Overall, results of the first year of the project have had a very positive impact on participating faculty and demonstrate that the JTFD approach is successful and could be a model transportable to other disciplines and institutions.
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