At the January 2017 NITOP, three participant posters were presented with awards at the closing session on January 6, 2017. 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 Thomas P. Tibbett for his poster entitled “Making Statistics Psychology: Engaging Students with Relevant Applications.” 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 Cynthia L. Vance for her poster entitled “Course Sharing: Using Monopoly to Teach Prejudice and Discrimination.” 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 2017, this award was presented to Christie Cathey, Danae Hudson, Michelle Visio, Brooke Whisenhunt, Taylor Smith, Jacob Tipton, Sidonia Grozav, and Charles Hoogland for their poster entitled “Manipulating Social Proof to Encourage Midterm Meeting Attendance among Struggling Students.” The abstracts of these posters follow.
Making Statistics Psychology: Engaging Students with Relevant Applications
Thomas P. Tibbett
Texas A&M University
Many psychology students do not get into the science for the numbers. Unfortunately, this may prevent learners from fully grasping the help statistics can provide in academia, the workplace, and daily life—because abstract calculations or concepts seem unhelpful, irrelevant, or even painful. This poster discussed innovative ways for professors and teaching assistants to engage their students in psychology statistics. Specific examples centered on group-conducted data collection on a shared topic of interest. Using this semester-long project, students can learn skills like SPSS, write short reports, and even hold a miniature conference with modest changes to the curriculum. Although the alternative structure does not completely abolish hand calculation, it supplements it with engaging activities. Furthermore, actual examples of statistics in the real world, creating social good, are highlighted. This shows students the impact they can have with a mastery of stats. In essence, the goal is to make statistics another branch of psychology—one where they can similarly make a difference.
Course Sharing: Using Monopoly to Teach Prejudice and Discrimination
Cynthia L. Vance
I conduct a class exercise in my Social Psychology class that I call “Social Psychology Monopoly.” The members of the class are put into groups, and each group plays Monopoly for one class period. The students are assigned to play with certain restrictions. For example, one player in each game of Monopoly receives only half the normal amount of money to begin the game, is allowed to move only half the amount rolled each time, can buy only properties priced at $150 or less (and must pay double for all property), receives only half the amount due from other players, and receives only $100 when passing Go. One player is “advantaged,” and is allowed to move twice the amount rolled, receives $350 for passing Go, can buy houses and hotels two for one, and can buy properties for $25 less than the stated price. Each player has a different set or rules, including one who plays by normal Monopoly rules.
The students play by these rules for about half the class. Then, everyone plays by regular Monopoly rules for the second half of the class. At the end of the class, the players add up their “assets.” It becomes quite clear to the students that those who were “disadvantaged” at the beginning of the game will never catch up. This always leads to a very lively discussion about prejudice and discrimination.
Handouts were provided which described the rules in detail, including the provisions about property distribution and each player’s restrictions.
Manipulating Social Proof to Encourage Midterm Meeting Attendance among Struggling Students
Christie Cathey, Danae Hudson, Michelle Visio, Brooke Whisenhunt, Taylor Smith, Jacob Tipton, Sidonia Grozav, and Charles Hoogland
Missouri State University
Introductory Psychology instructors at Missouri State University send emails to students with midterm grades of “D” or “F” encouraging them to meet one-on-one during office hours to discuss course performance and ways to improve study skills. These meetings seem to be beneficial to struggling students, as evidenced by the fact that meeting attendance is associated with improved performance by the end of the semester. Unfortunately, a relatively small percentage of invited students actually attend a meeting. In an effort to increase attendance, we examined the effect of email wording on meeting attendance. Instructors sent D/F students one of three emails inviting them to attend a meeting. In the “social proof” condition, the email included an additional sentence that read: “Last semester, more than 60 students took us up on this offer for help.” In the “outcome focus” condition, the extra sentence read: “Of the people who came to meet with us last semester, 83% of them improved their grade by at least one letter grade.” The control condition contained no additional sentence. Results showed that 43% of students in the social proof condition attended a meeting compared to 28% in the outcome focus condition and 22% in the control condition. Findings suggest the important role that students’ beliefs about peers’ behaviors play in determining their own academic behaviors.