The effect of student engagement on final grades, attendance and student experiences in large classroom in an undergraduate biology course at Memorial University

Rissanen, Anna (2016) The effect of student engagement on final grades, attendance and student experiences in large classroom in an undergraduate biology course at Memorial University. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Especially during the first year in university absenteeism can have detrimental effects on grades, and I have witnessed this while teaching large undergraduate Biology classes. According to pedagogical literature altering teaching methods from lecturing toward engaging teaching, which applies various active teaching methods in the university classroom, can enhance learning, student participation, decrease absenteeism, and improve critical thinking and problem solving skills. In this research study, I used a combination of active learning activities and engaging teaching to prevent absenteeism, in an attempt to improve grades, and to enhance interest in Biology among students in large first year Introductory Biology classes. Results show that students were less absent from the class that used engaging teaching methods. Also, the conceptual understanding test showed a significant difference in pre- and post-test grades between the classes, the engagement class having the highest improvement. The student CLASSE survey indicated more interaction between faculty and students in the section that was taught using engaging methods. According to student focus group interviews, students in the engagement class appreciated the class activities and reported benefits for learning.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/12396
Item ID: 12396
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 59-71).
Keywords: student engagement, large class instruction, biology, scholarship in teaching and learning, clickers
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: October 2016
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Active learning; Effective teaching; College teaching

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