Awards January 2015

At the January 2015 NITOP, two participant posters were presented with awards at the closing session on January 6, 2015. 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 Nicole Bies-Hernandez, Kris Gunawan, and David E. Copeland, for their poster entitled “Teaching Practices That Predict Performance in Undergraduate Psychology Courses.” 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 poster, was presented to R. Brooke Lea and David C. Matz for their poster entitled “Disseminating Science at a Science Museum.” The abstracts of these posters follow.


Teaching Practices That Predict Performance in Undergraduate Psychology Classes

Nicole Bies-Hernandez1, Kris Gunawan2, and David E. Copeland3
1Northern Arizona University, 2California State University, Fullerton, 3University of Nevada, Las Vegas

A wide variety of course requirements are used in undergraduate psychology courses to assess learning, which can range from attendance/participation to quizzes to written assignments to examinations. The purpose of this study was to examine how various teaching practices influence students’ grade performance and learning in actual psychology courses, with the goal of determining which practices are the best predictors of students’ grade performance and learning. This was investigated by analyzing the student grade data from the in-person sections of Psychology courses (e.g., Introductory Psychology) that were offered during the Fall 2013 semester. More specifically, performance in the courses at the end of the semester as well as performance on each of the major course requirements (i.e., attendance, assignments, examinations, etc.) were used to conduct multiple linear regressions to determine which teaching practices best predicted students’ grade performance and learning in these courses. The findings from this study provide greater insight into which teaching practices have the greatest impact on students’ classroom performance and learning in undergraduate Psychology courses.


Disseminating Science at a Science Museum

R. Brooke Lea1 and David C. Matz2
1Macalester College and 2Augsburg College

The dissemination section of their NSF (TUES program) grant prompted the authors to create a museum-exhibit assignment for their undergraduate students. The grant allowed the authors to establish eye-tracking labs at two liberal arts colleges and was designed to spur student and faculty involvement in curricular development, create a model for how such teaching and research labs can be created at other institutions, and to more broadly promote science education. The culminating experience called for students to present what they had learned in the labs to visitors at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM). The intent of this project was to expose a broad population to the procedures and paradigms of eye-tracking research, to spur interest in science research in general, and to teach undergraduates the importance of giving science back to the public. To this end, student and faculty lab members created a recurring museum exhibit on eye-tracking methods and paradigms that allowed museum guests to witness and experience how eye-tracking research is conducted.

For each of three weekends, eight undergraduates from Augsburg and Macalester colleges, together with the two authors, recreated their research lab at the SMM’s “Demonstration Station.” The exhibit provided both interactive and passive activities. The latter consisted of a five-minute video about eye-tracking that ran as a loop; the former entailed museum visitors having their eyes tracked on one of six demonstration experiments. Other visitors could observe the calibration and experimental procedures on a large screen on which the displays were projected.