At the January 2016 NITOP, three participant posters were presented with awards at the closing session on January 6, 2016. The Frank Costin Memorial Award for Excellence (including a certificate, a check for $250, and a complimentary registration at a future NITOP conference), for the poster judged by Institute faculty as best promoting quality teaching methods, was presented to Kristen T. Begosh for her poster entitled “Designing Lecture Slides and Assessment Questions to Maximize Student Performance.” The Doug Bernstein Award (a certificate, a check for $250, and a complimentary registration at a future NITOP conference), for the poster judged by the NITOP conference committee as the most humorous, creative, or original, or as making the strongest contribution to the teaching of introductory psychology, was presented to Kiesa Kelly and Kesha Patrice for their poster entitled “The Impact of Culturally-Relevant Content and Academic Self-Concept on African American Student Performance in a General Psychology Course.” The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award (a certificate, a check for $250, and a complimentary registration at a future NITOP conference) was given for the poster judged to be the most outstanding in terms of (a) the importance of the research question addressed, (b) the soundness of the research methodology employed, (c) the use of appropriate qualitative and/or statistical analyses, and (d) the clarity with which the implications of the research findings for teaching and learning are expressed. In 2016, this award was presented to Diana Elliott for her poster entitled “The Impact of Student Computers in the Classroom on Learning Outcomes.” The abstracts of these posters follow.
Designing Lecture Slides and Assessment Questions to Maximize Student Performance
Kristen T. Begosh
University of Delaware
Two studies examined how the way in which information is presented affects participants’ later quiz performance. In Experiment 1, half of the participants watched a lecture where all information was available on the slide at once (simultaneously). The other half watched the same lecture in which the information appeared line-by-line as it was discussed (sequentially). Quiz questions evaluated how well participants remembered the information based on whether it was presented in a graph (graphic), written on the slide (text), or spoken by the presenter (auditory). Participants scored reliably higher in the sequential condition than in the simultaneous condition. They also did worst when responding to questions about graphic information and best when responding to questions about auditory information.
Experiment 2 added an emphasis presentation method in which all of the information was visible on the slide but in a lighter font color until it was discussed. To determine whether participants in Experiment 1 had difficulty with the graphic questions because they did not remember what the graphs looked like or because they had trouble interpreting their meaning, the graphic quiz questions in Experiment 2 were modified so that participants first had to reproduce the figure and then explain its meaning. A trend indicated that participants performed best when the information was presented sequentially, as in Experiment 1. Scores on graphic questions were significantly higher than either text or auditory questions, largely because the participants were better at reproducing the figures than they were at describing them.
The Impact of Culturally-Relevant Content and Academic Self-Concept on African American Student Performance in a General Psychology Course
The purpose of this investigation was to test the hypothesis that African American college students benefit academically (i.e., earn higher final grades) from the incorporation of culturally-relevant images and themes in a General Psychology course. Sixty African American students enrolled in four sections of General Psychology at a historically black university participated in a quasi-experimental study. Students had no knowledge about the cultural content differences between the sections. T-test results indicated that African American students whose General Psychology course had images and themes relevant to African Americans earned significantly higher final course grades (M=78.65; SD=19.85) than those who were in a traditional, Eurocentric section of the course (M=69.65; SD=14.75). A possible role of academic self-concept was examined by administering the Academic Self Concept Scale (ASCS) both at the beginning and at the end of the semester. Groups were not found to statistically differ with regard to ASCS. Alternative explanations for achievement gains related to culturally-relevant content are explored.
The Impact of Student Computers in the Classroom on Learning Outcomes
Belmont Abbey College
This study examined the impact of student computer use on learning using a randomized controlled experimental design. Two-hundred-and-two students listened to two one-hour lectures and completed a test on the material after being randomly assigned to one of five groups. Group 1 was instructed to take handwritten notes and seated among similarly instructed students. Group 2 was instructed to take computer-written notes and seated among similarly instructed students. Group 3 was given no note instruction, but was told to have computers open to an academic website relevant to the lecture and seated among similarly instructed students. Group 4 was given no note instruction, but was told to have their computers open to a nonacademic website (e.g., games, videos) and seated around students who were taking handwritten notes (Group 5). Students in Group 5 were instructed to take handwritten notes and were seated around students who had their computer opened to a nonacademic website (Group 4). Students taking handwritten notes seated near similarly instructed students scored the highest on the lecture test, whereas students with computers opened to nonacademic webpages scored the lowest. Students instructed to take handwritten notes, but seated near students on computers opened to nonacademic webpages, scored significantly lower than note-takers near no computers. The results suggest that learning may be hampered by the nonacademic use of computers in the classroom not only for the student using the computer, but also for students sitting around them.