Kaneb Center Postdoctoral and Graduate Associates in Learning Research
The ND Learning | Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence seeks graduate students and postdocs to serve as Kaneb Center Postdoctoral and Graduate Associates (PGAs) in the Research and Assessment for Learning (ReAL) Lab for the 2020-2021 academic year. The PGA will become acquainted with the fundamental concepts and core practices of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), an inquiry that examines the intersection of instruction and student learning across disciplines in higher education.
A potential PGA would work with a team of faculty on course assessment, program/grant evaluation, conference proposals/presentations, and support articles for publication. If hired you would participate in applied learning research and work toward submitting at least one co-authored article for publication, submitting a conference and/or grant proposal, and creating a culminating poster presentation or conducting faculty SoTL and assessment-related workshops. This position is an excellent opportunity to develop as a professional, a teaching scholar-practitioner. For more information see the ReAL Lab blog at: https://kaneb.nd.edu/real/.
Throughout the academic year, PGAs contribute an average of 5 hours per week, scheduled
according to availability, and receive pay of $20/hour. They attend weekly meetings with Dr. G. Alex Ambrose, Director of Learning Research at Notre Dame Learning | Kaneb Center.
Applicants should have completed one or more semesters of TAing or teaching, preferably at Notre Dame, before holding this position. Postdocs may be eligible; contact email@example.com for more information. Advisor and DGS approval will be required before hiring is finalized. Applicants must be in residence during the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
To apply, please submit the information below to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59pm, Wednesday April 27, 2020. Interviews will take place in late April and early May.
– Current year in graduate school & anticipated year of graduation
– Paragraph describing your interest in this position
We present a data-driven framework for identifying at-risk, or rather “non-thriving,” students in a large-enrollment introductory general chemistry course. This predictive learning analytic methodology was used to identify underperforming students during the early part of the course, through a hybrid approach of statistical modeling and domain expert decision making.
Background & Lit Review
There has been a long history and large body of knowledge in pursuing our research question in post secondary chemistry education. For most of these studies, the objective was to decrease drop, fail, withdrawal (DFW) rates by classifying “at-risk” predictors and intervening before the identified students began college coursework. These predictors often took the form of cognitive characteristics, such as standardized test scores, university-made placement exams focusing on mathematical ability, prior conceptual chemistry knowledge and logical reasoning skills. (Spencer1996; Kennepohl2010; Wagner2002; Pickering1975; Bird2010; Ozsogomonyan1979). Another less objective area of inquiry was students’ affective experiences which included self-concept, attitude, and motivation (Xu2013; Chan2014; DanielHouse1995), and intervention typically involved remedial courses(Kilner2018, Walmsley1977, Bentley2005; Mason2001; Kogut1993), or preparatory courses and transition programs (Hunter1976; Krannich2977; Shields2012, Stone2018). Previous efforts at our university include identifying non-thriving students during a required first-year-experience (FYE) course (Syed2019), and an introductory engineering course (Bartolini2020).
Although identifying “at-risk” students has been a popular field of research for introductory science courses, we make the distinction between “thriving” and “surviving” because the students identified in the current study are not necessarily at risk of failing the course, but they are likely to withdraw from the course or from their STEM program. How do you identify and intervene students who are not thriving while it is early enough to make improvements in the course?
What are the best and earliest predictors of non-thriving learners early in the course, and what data-driven methods can we provide administrators and instructors to identify these students?
Our hybrid approach combined exploratory data analysis to determine potential cut off points for non-thriving triggers through visualized data sets, and supervised machine learning to identify and utilize significant predictive features of students’ course success. Objective quantitative data was coupled with decision-making by domain experts (course professors and coordinators, advisors, data scientists, and learning experts from the university’s teaching and learning center). This modeling and visualization approach ensured campus context was taken into consideration when manipulating this largely data-driven approach. Our statistical analysis, suggested machine-learning models, and interactive visualizations of the multidimensional data sets are described in this section to show how we addressed our research question.
Step 1: Determine the non-thriving point for the final course grade.
1a. Collect historical performance data from the previous year.
1b. Visualize data into a grade distribution chart.
1c. Set the non-thriving point.
Step 2: Determine the best and earliest predictors of non-thriving students based on historical data.
2a. Collect historical performance data from the previous year and identify all non-thriving students.
2b. Model student data to identify the performance features most correlated to non-thriving performance.
2c. Visualize the data to determine the specific cut-off ranges.
Step 3: Replicate and improve the model early on during the current course.
3a. Export gradebook data for the current set of students at the data collection time point
3b. Filter the data to identify the students whose performance matched the predicted trigger for non thriving students from the previous year.
The earliest performance triggers for non-thriving grades ranked greatest to least from left to right.
Results & Conclusion
Student performance data was used to create learning analytics visuals to aid in discovering trends among non-thriving students, while domain experts made decisions about appropriate cut-off points to classify non-thriving performance. With the overall goals of closing opportunity gaps, maximizing all students’ potential for success in the course, and increasing STEM retention rates, we use student admissions and performance data visuals to ultimately create an environment that better supports all first semester chemistry students, and early on in the course.
Previous efforts to increase STEM retention rates have centered around identifying “at-risk” students before the course begins, based on admissions data. In this paper, we expanded the efforts of the current research in two areas: 1) broadening the search criteria to students who are likely non-thriving, not necessarily “at-risk” of failing the course; and 2) utilizing early and current course performance data instead of before-course characteristics. These two focus points allowed us to capture a more refined demographic of students, with the goal of helping all students to not just survive, but thrive in STEM programs. These methods better prepared us to support all students based on their performance in class, not just their before-course attributes, many of which are inherently biased and cannot account for many contextual differences. Additionally, in our approach to organizing data into interactive visual representations, we made our methods accessible to all faculty and administrators so that context-driven decisions can be made for the course.
With a largely data-driven approach, we sought to answer the research question: What are the best and earliest predictors of non-thriving learners early in the course, and what tools can we provide administrators and instructors to identify these students? Through a K- Nearest Neighbor modeling approach with one semester of data, it was determined that the best performance predictors of non-thriving students was 2 or more below-average homework scores, and an exam 1 score below 81. However, using these exact cutoffs did not appear to be the best strategy for identifying students in the following semester. A method of iterative refinement was implemented to update the appropriate selection criteria and will continue to be used until our model is fined tuned.
As we collect data from more semesters, we plan to continue to use of this iterative refinement on our model to determine the best set of assignments and amount of time needed to accurately predict the non-thriving status of our students. The methods we have described here provide scholar-practitioners with a set of tools that can be replicated and customized for STEM courses on their campus. We recognize that different institutions will have different definitions of thriving, and course structures. We provide examples specific to our institution for context, but we encourage those that seek to utilize our method to customize this process to one that fits the specifics of their institution. This will entail using data-driven approaches to identify a thriving cutoff point, suggesting a cutoff date and number of assignments for identifying non-thriving students, and implementing best-practice intervention approaches to offer students non-thriving students a boost.
Bentley, A. B.; Gellene, G. I. A six-year study of the eﬀects of a remedial course in the chemistry curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education 2005, 82, 125–130.
Chan, J. Y.; Bauer, C. F. Identifying at-risk students in general chemistry via cluster analysis of aﬀective characteristics. Journal of Chemical Education 2014, 91, 1417–1425.
Daniel House, J. Noncognitive predictors of achievement in introductory college chemistry. Research in Higher Education 1995, 36, 473–490.
Hunter, N. W. A chemistry prep course that seems to work. 1976; https://pubs.acs.org/sharingguidelines.
Kennepohl, D.; Guay, M.; Thomas, V. Using an online, self-diagnostic test for introductory general chemistry at an open university. Journal of Chemical Education 2010, 87, 1273–1277.
Kilner, W. C. ConfChem Conference on Mathematics in Undergraduate Chemistry Instruction: The Chem-Math Project. Journal of Chemical Education 2018, 95, 1436–1437.
Kogut, L. S. A general chemistry course for science and engineering majors with marginal academic preparation. Journal of Chemical Education 1993, 70, 565–567.
Krannich, L. K.; Patick, D.; Pevear, J. A pre-general chemistry course for the under-prepared student. Journal of Chemical Education 1977, 54, 730–735.
Mason, D.; Verdel, E. Gateway to Success for At-Risk Students in a Large-Group Introductory Chemistry Class. Journal of Chemical Education 2001, 78, 252–255.
Ozsogomonyan, A.; Loftus, D. Predictors of general chemistry grades. Journal of Chemical Education 1979, 56, 173–175.
Pickering, M. Helping the high risk freshman chemist. Journal of Chemical Education 1975, 52, 512–514.
Shields, S. P.; Hogrebe, M. C.; Spees, W. M.; Handlin, L. B.; Noelken, G. P.; Riley, J. M.; Frey, R. F. A transition program for underprepared students in general chemistry: Diagnosis, implementation, and evaluation. Journal of Chemical Education 2012, 89, 995–1000.
Stone, K. L.; Shaner, S. E.; Fendrick, C. M. Improving the success of ﬁrst term general chemistry students at a liberal arts institution. Education Sciences 2018, 8, 5.
Spencer, H. E. Mathematical SAT test scores and college chemistry grades. Journal of Chemical Education 1996, 73, 1150–1153.
Syed, M.; Duan, X.; Anggara, T.; Alex Ambrose, G.; Lanski, A.; Chawla, N. V. Integrated closed-loop learning analytics scheme in a ﬁrst year experience course. ACM International Conference Proceeding Series. New York, New York, USA, 2019; pp 521–530.
Wagner, E. P.; Sasser, H.; DiBiase, W. J. Predicting students at risk in general chemistry using pre-semester assessments and demographic information. Journal of Chemical Education 2002, 79, 749.
Walmsley, F. A course for the underprepared chemistry student. Journal of Chemical Education 1977, 54, 314–315.
Xu, X.; Villafane, S. M.; Lewis, J. E. College students’ attitudes toward chemistry, conceptual knowledge and achievement: Structural equation model analysis. Chemistry Education Research and Practice 2013, 14, 188–200.
Citation: Serafini, Tiziana, , Rouamba, Guieswende, Ambroe, G. Alex (2021) “Translating Authentic Italian Text in a Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Classroom” Midwest Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) Annual Conference. Virtual.
Abstract: Beyond textbook readings: Are you interested to see how learning and teaching transform in a state-of-the-art active learning classroom? Through this poster presentation, you will be able to learn how integrating reading strategies into instruction in an active learning classroom made beginners enthusiastic about reading an authentic book in Italian.
In the summer of 2017, the University of Notre Dame was awarded a $65K furniture grant from Steelcase Educations’s Active Learning Center. Notre Dame’s Office of Facilities Design and Operations contributed $50k in classroom renovation funding and the Office of Information Technologies $25K in technology funding to renovate Debartolo Hall 232 into a state-of-the-art prototype flexible classroom to maximize interactive learning.
Research Goal: Increase student confidence in reading authentic texts through instructional strategies in an online platform.
Research Questions: • RQ1: Does the teaching of reading strategies enable elementary-level learners to successfully understand and translate an authentic Italian text without external aids? • RQ2: How does technology support the development of reading skills in lower-level classes?
Lit Review: Over the last few years, the shift toward a communicative classroom has resulted in reading being relegated to “the wayside” (Aski, 2000, p. 495). Despite being “one of the most obvious source of authentic FL language,” (idem) reading is often shunned by teachers and learners alike. Teachers may find it challenging to expose their students to unfamiliar vocabulary and grammatical structures, and students, in turn, may feel frustrated at syntactical and lexical complexity. How to come out of this gridlock? Some researchers chose to focus on text types and reading skills (Lee and Musumeci, 1988, p. 174). They asked whether establishing a hierarchy of text types and a corresponding hierarchy of reading skills constitutes an accurate tool to assess reading performance. Others turned their attention to the learners themselves, and analyzed the relationship between L1 (skill proficiency in ) and L2 (language knowledge) in successful readers (Bernhardt and Kamil, 1995).
Another line of inquiry centers upon cognitive psychology, and examines the ways in which learners and teachers can tackle authentic texts by learning and teaching reading strategies. Carrell and Eisterhold argue that at an elementary level “low-proficiency readers are more word-bound and [..] for them meaning tends to break down at the word level.” (1983). Schulz confirms that low-proficiency readers “engage in word-by-word decoding and translation,” (1983) and are often unable to gain a general understanding of a text. For this reason, Aski proposes teaching elementary-level students those strategies that focus on global meaning (top-down strategies). In contrast to bottom-up strategies, which concentrate on discrete, and oftentimes too challenging linguistic elements, top-down strategies allow readers the possibility to make logical inferences about general aspects of a text. Readers can then use that knowledge as a starting point against which they can test comprehension accuracy.
Is it, however, viable and constructive to also teach bottom-up strategies at a lower level? Is it possible for low-proficiency readers to apply both bottom-up and top-down strategies to an authentic text that is well above their reading level?
Methodology A combination of quantitative and qualitative analysis.
Scholarly references Aski, Janice. “Effective Integration of Reading in the Communicative Italian (FL) Classroom,” Italica, 77, No. 4, (Winter 2000): 495-508.
Bernhardt, Elizabeth, and Michael Kamil (1995). “Interpreting Relationships between L1 and L2 Reading:Consolidating the Linguistic Threshold and the Linguistic Interdependence Hypotheses.” Applied Linguistics 16 (1995): 15-34.
Carrell, Patricia, and Joan Eisterhold, “Schema Theory and ESL Reading Pedagogy.” TESOL Quarterly 17(1983): 553-573.
Lee, James and Diane Musumeci, “On Hierarchies of Reading Skills and Text Types.” The Modern Language Journal 72 (1988):173-87.
When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in the spring of 2020, learning as we knew it changed worldwide. Universities worldwide were affected and had to make split-second decisions as shutdowns started worldwide. In the fall of 2020, online learning or modified learning became the “new normal” as we all attempted what we thought was best to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while allowing education as best as possible. Before COVID-19, the University of Notre Dame and Tel Aviv University had been working together to create an international partnership in research on teaching and learning. Like everything else, this shifted focus during the pandemic.
With sponsorship from the Schlindwein Family Tel Aviv University – Notre Dame Research Grant Collaboration, a partnership between Notre Dame and Tel Aviv University had already been developed before the pandemic. Even as learning and research shifted in 2020 and international travel was essentially halted, the partnership allowed both schools an avenue to continue and share their research. Thanks to this partnership, ND International, and ND Learning, the universities were able to share their work from fall 2020 in a virtual panel held March 17, 2021.
The two schools developed different teaching models for the fall reopening, with TAU remaining entirely online and off campus while ND shifted mainly to dual mode learning, with the professor and some students in the classroom while those unable to attend joined live remotely. Research at the universities followed these shifts. At Notre Dame, research was done on how well classrooms facilitated active learning pre- and during COVID-19 as well as how active learning compared across the online, dual mode, and in-person learning environments according to the EDUCAUSE Learning Space Rating System. Qualitative research focused on how students and professors responded to dual mode learning, how effective dual mode instruction was, and which aspects of the classroom environment and technology were most important during COVID-19. Research from Tel Aviv discussed the methods and adjustments that instructors had to make during COVID-19, including changing class policies, taking more care to reach out to students who were away from school and learning remotely, and overall changes to the learning community. Their presentations also discussed data-driven decision making during remote learning and what academic, emotional, and accessibility changes had to be made in moving from face to face to emergency remote teaching.
Research Topics & Speakers
INSTRUCTORS’ REFLECTIONS ABOUT LEARNERS’ DATA IN ONLINE EMERGENCY REMOTE TEACHING
Maya Usher, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, TAU School of Education
Arnon Hershkovitz, Ph.D. (Schlindwein Grant Co-PI), Senior Lecturer, TAU School of Education
EFFECTS ON CLASSROOMS’ LEARNING SPACE RATING SYSTEM SCORES
Jessica Staggs, Research Assistant, ND Learning ReAL Lab
G. Alex Ambrose, Ph.D. (Schlindwein Grant Co-PI), ND Learning | Kaneb Center
EMERGENCY REMOTE TEACHING: CAMPUS-WIDE TRANSITION AND INSTRUCTORS’ PERSPECTIVE
Tal Soffer, Ph.D. (Schlindwein Grant Co-PI), Head of Virtual TAU – The Center for Digital Pedagogy
UNDERSTANDING DUAL MODE TEACHING AND LEARNING
Daphne Saloome, Research Assistant, ND Learning ReAL Lab
G. Alex Ambrose, Ph.D. (Schlindwein Grant Co-PI), ND Learning | Kaneb Center
STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES OF THE SHIFT TO REMOTE LEARNING
Anat Cohen, Ph.D., Senior Lecturer, TAU School of Education
Blog post by Jessica Staggs, ReAL Lab Undergraduate Research Assistant.
Inclusive Curriculum Analytics for Undergraduate STEM Degrees: Using data to identify barriers, measure outcome disparities, and close achievement gaps
As formal credit earning opportunities grow, such as through credit by examination, it’s imperative that institutions understand how their advanced placement credit acceptance policies shape their students’ experiences on campus. While most schools have focused on how students with advanced credit perform in the follow on classes, fewer have focused on how these policies affect students without the same opportunities. This case study will answer: how do credit acceptance policies shape the student academic experience within one College of Engineering? The poster will focus on how one College of Engineering identified inequities through data driven study of students’ college performance as it relates to their credits earned prior to matriculation. It will provide a roadmap for other institutions to investigate their own student data as it pertains to current policies.
Background, Problem, & Evidence:
More and more students begin college having earned multiple college credits. As formal credit earning opportunities grow, such as through credit by examination, it is imperative that colleges and universities understand how their credit acceptance policies shape their students’ experiences on campus. While many studies have focused on program benefits such as additional schedule flexibility, less time to degree, and exposure to advanced topics, few have quantified the collateral impact of credit earning opportunities on the students that do not have credit when entering college. By not specifically quantifying and understanding this, it is easy to perpetuate or expand an achievement gap that started well before students enter college.
In this session, we will show how one College of Engineering used student performance data to identify and understand potential inequities in existing policy decisions. By accepting credit in required courses, in this case calculus, chemistry and physics, two groups were formed: (1) students that were ahead of the stated curriculum and (2) students that were executing the curriculum as published and expected. Looking at shared courses between these two tracks, such as physics or sophomore level engineering courses, exposed real and concerning disparities in grade performance from this policy. This session will present data from this study and describe a methodology for creating similar data analysis at other schools and within a wide range of programs.
Expanded Figures from the poster:
CoursePathVis is a visual analytical tool for exploring and analyzing students’ progress through a college curriculum using a Sankey diagram. We group students in multiple ways (by their AP courses, term courses, and a user-specified fun-nel course) to offer different perspectives on the underlying data. With these flexible grouping techniques and the funnel-augmented Sankey diagram, CoursePathVis helps us identify patterns or outliers that affect student success.”
Victoria Goodrich, Associate Teaching Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Leo McWilliams, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs, College of Engineering
G. Alex Ambrose, Director of Learning Research, ND Learning | Kaneb Center for Teaching Excellence
Andrew Craker, Pat Miller, Kevin Abbott, Kevin Barry, Alex Oxner, Augie Freda, Shelin Mathews, Ryan Snodgrass, Keith Mcindoo, Roberto Casarez, Joel Dosmann, Chaoli Wang, Brendan O’Handley, Michael Niemier, Morgan Ludwig and Samantha Allison
The US State Department funded a USAID grant to have the University of Notre Dame and Harvard join the Paraguayan Development Institute’s led program named “Rule of Law and Culture of Integrity” (ROLCI) in Paraguay. The ROLCI Program is an initiative of Development Institute (ID)and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The goal was to strengthen Paraguayan higher education institutions to improve the rule of law and culture of anti-corruption in Paraguay. The team, lead by the Keough School of Global Affairs’s Pulte Institute for Global Development, gathered trainers and experts from ND Learning | Kaneb Center, OIT”s Teaching and Learning Technologies Group to create, translate, facilitate, and record an interactive webinar series on using state of the art technologies and online pedagogies during and after COVID-19. 170 legal professors from several law schools and training centers in Paraguay such as the National University of Asunción, the National University of Ciudad del Este, the National University of Concepcion and the National University of Caaguazu, the International Center for Judicial Studies of the Supreme Court of Justice, the Public Defense Ministry’ training center, the Judicial School of the Council of the Magistracy and the Public Ministry Training Center, attended and participated in the 6-part live dual-language series. Individual workshops included the following topics and goals (note: the links are to the shared zoom recordings and translated slide decks):
Description & Goals
Links to Recordings
Online Learning Exploratory Session
•Country and Campus exchange •Open dialogue and needs assessment
•Reassess your course design: situational factors, learning goals, and assessment structure for resilient teaching •Develop broad strategies for engaging your students and helping them achieve the course learning goals regardless of class modality •Describe general principles of resilient teaching •Apply principles of inclusive teaching that apply across modalities
Flexible Teaching Methods Part 1: Live and Pre-Recorded Lecturing with Zoom
•Utilize basic pedagogical design principles for using Zoom technology for synchronous and asynchronous teaching •Experience as a participant in a live Zoom session with backchannel chat, share/annotate screen, live polling and documents
Flexible Assessment Part 2 (Formative): Assessing Participation, Preparation, and Attendance
•Understand the difference and relationship between formative and summative assessment •Define the role and value of participation, preparation, and attendance in a resilient class •Apply concrete strategies for using participation, preparation and attendance for formative assessment purposes
Schalk, Catlin, Young, Kelley, Ambrose, G. Alex, Duan, Xiaojing, Weber, Woodard, Victoria (2020) “Inclusive learning analytics for identifying and boosting non-thriving students in large-enrollment general chemistry course.” Biennial Conference on Chemical Education. Poster.
Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Biennial Conference on Chemical Education was terminated on April 2, 2020, by the Executive Committee of the Division of Chemical Education, American Chemical Society; and, therefore, this presentation could not be given as intended
ABSTRACT Our goals are to identify non-thriving students in a gateway introductory chemistry course, and to develop methods that increase student success and retention rates in the College of Science and College of Engineering. General Chemistry is required for all first semester STEM majors, which totaled 949 students in Fall 2019. Specifically, our focus is on maximizing students’ potential to thrive — that is earning a final grade of C or higher in the course — not just to survive the class. We use student background data, historical performance data, as well as real-time academic performance data in the development of a visual analytics dashboard. This inclusive learning platform is a tool for instructors and administration to identify admissions characteristics and academic performance triggers that lead to non-thriving in the course, or in STEM programs. Course homework and exam item analysis was conducted to identify students who are not likely to thrive based on course performance identifiers so that early actions can be taken to intervene during the semester to boost the chances of these students to thrive in the course. Additionally, a special treatment program, the Science and Engineering (S&E) scholars program, is implemented as an effort to close the achievement gap of underserved and underprepared students while also maintaining the rigor of the course. The 45 students in this small cohort take a summer math refresher course, are enrolled in the same chemistry and calculus sections together, have a reduced course load, and attend extra graded problem solving classes with more one-on-one time with experienced professors and TAs.
One Sentence Overview: •This study identified students that had the potential to be “non-thriving” at the end of the semester based on historical data and boosted these students in an attempt to improve their performance in the course.
Key Takeaways: • A trigger of 80% or lower on one of the first three homework assignments was successfully implemented to identify and boost potentially “non-thriving students”. • Students who responded to the personalized action plan in their boost email performed better than those who did not respond and those who would have been boosted based on the same trigger in the 2017 and 2018 fall semesters.
PerformanceVis is a visual analytics tool developed for analyzing and visualizing students’ chemistry course performance through the lens of time, homework and exams, and demographic and academic background. The Introduction to Chemical Principles course is a required course for all college of science and college of engineering programs at the university and is the second largest course on campus with approximately 1,000 freshmen taking the course.
This engaging tool includes four main views (overall exam grade pathway, detailed exam grade pathway, detailed exam item analysis, and overall exam & homework analysis) which are dynamically linked together for user interaction and exploration. PerformanceVis enables instructors to improve their course and assessment design by visualizing students’ perceived difficulty level and topic correlation between assignments and exams. It assists instructors and administrators in evaluating the impact of a special treatment program (cohort) by reviewing the performance of regular, control, and cohort students overall and by exam. The image below shows a screenshot of PerformanceVis with the right side of the image showing a view of the gender performance gap for those students who were not thriving. The left side of the image shows Exam 1 item analysis for each test question.