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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Spring 2014

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/its/academic/projecthighlights.html

Project 1: Desire2Learn Template for Quality Matters (QM) Online Courses

This study applied the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991) to understand the antecedents of faculty decisions to implement a new course management system template to improve course design. It was found that faculty attitudes toward the template emerged as the strongest predictor of intentions to implement the resource, whereas neither perception of social norms nor efficacy beliefs predicted intentions. The manuscript about this project has been completed and submitted to Computers & Education.

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Project 2: The Maverick Comprehensive Learning Analytics Support System (MavCLASS)

The MavCLASS team developed a proprietary learning analytics system and piloted it in a large gateway math class to identify academically at-risk students and provide early alert interventions. Over the course of one semester, students receiving the alerts showed an increase in their visits to the university’s tutoring center. There was also an increase in student-driven appointments with the instructor. Further, the achievement of students who visited the tutoring center was improving over the semester. Evidence from the study suggests that an early-alert system focused on personalized feedback from instructional staff correlates with the help-seeking behaviors of at-risk students in large gateway classes. The manuscript about this project has been completed and submitted to Innovations in Education and Teaching International.

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Project 3: TelePresence for Teaching and Learning

The overarching research question for the project is whether doctoral students in Educational Leadership perceive the TelePresence courses to be equivalent to traditional courses. There are 5 specific components to investigate:  (a) learning, (b) quality of communication, (c) sense of community, (d) comfort with technology, and (e) overall satisfaction. The initial findings suggested that there were no notable differences in students perceptions of TelePresence versus traditional courses across 4 of the 5 components.  Alternatively, students reported a major difference in perceptions regarding sense of community (Cohen's d = .92). This study provides the department with an opportunity to focus on altering our pedagogy in a way that may improve the experience, and thus learning, for our doctoral students in their studies.   The next phase of the study will commence in Fall 2014 with the inclusion of undergraduate and graduate students from additional departments.

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Project 4: Using Simulation Game to Support Student Learning in Capital Improvement Budget

In this project, a simulation game was designed and used in Local Government Administration course to help students explore the process of setting a budget for long-term capital improvements in a local government setting. The game puts the player in the position of a city administrator who must prepare a capital improvement plan (CIP) and proceeds through several scenarios and requires the learner to develop Excel spreadsheets to analyze the alternatives. In order to determine the impact of the simulation game, a quasi-experiment was implemented in the class by randomly assigning students into two groups. Both groups completed a pre-test on the course content at the beginning of the semester. Group 1 students took the post-test before they played the simulation game. Group 2  took the post-test right after the game. The two groups were compared on a set of outcome variables, including motivation, course satisfaction, and course related knowledge and skills. 

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Project 5: Measuring "Flow" in English as a Second Language (ESL) Classes

In this project, three types of learning activities were implemented to support students to learn the English language: video watching, writing, and group discussion. These activities were designed based on the Flow Theory and have the following characteristics: interesting, creating optimal challeng(balance between task challenge and one's abilities/skills)and providing opportunities for students to control and focusA questionnaire was developed to measure whether students experienced optimal learning (a.k.a. "flow") The questionnaire will be revised based on results from the pilot. Formal data collection will begin in Fall 2014. Data analysis will be completed in Spring 2015. The manuscript of the project will be written and submitted in Summer 2015.

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Project 6: Evaluation of a Flipped Operations Management Class

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the flipped pedagogy used in the Production and Operations Management class. In this course, students were asked to watch online videos and complete online quizzes on D2L before coming to the class. During the face-to-face class meetings, students finished their homework assignments with their teammates. A questionnaire was developed to collect student experience and perceptions in the flipped model of the course, as well as the specific learning activities. The manuscript about this project has been published in Business Education Innovation Journal.

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Project 7: Development of an Accessibility Solution to PC-Spim

In this project, an accessibility solution was developed for the software PC-Spim, used in the course: IT320 Machine Structures and Operating Systems. PC-Spim provides the user an inside look at how CPUs work and how individual low-level assembly language instructions are interpreted. This software requires the users to access to specific parts of the screen as well as the error codes and program input and output, which is very challenging to the visually impaired learners. To address the challenge, the researcher developed a braille-based solution to accessing the PC-Spim program. The solution enables the user to have immediate access to information such as the contents of CPU registers, as well as instant access to the program's output.

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Project 8: Linking Team Based Guided-Inquiry to Improved Student Performance in Organic and Biochemistry

This project examined the relationship between the team based guided-inquiry approach and student learning outcomes. Students in an organic/biochemistry course were divided into two sections. Students in the traditional lecture section received the course materials via lecture, and students in the other section received the course materials through a team based guided-inquiry approach. Data analysis showed that students in the team based guided-inquiry section consistently scored higher on organic and biochemistry standardized exams. In addition, in the team based guided-inquiry section, correlations between enhanced learning by students with particular learning styles were observed.

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