Classroom Research and Assessment
An important reason why many students come to community colleges, and why many faculty choose to work at community colleges, is our emphasis on teaching and learning, without a bit push for formal research. But, does this mean that community college faculty do not conduct research? Not on your life!. Many of our faculty are deeply involved in subject area research. Even more of our faculty are profoundly interested in the phenomenon of learning and are actively engaged in both formal and informal classroom research on methods and techniques.
It could be very enlightening to have a dialogue here about research on learning and effective methodologies that faculty are doing as part of your classroom (including virtual) practice. Please consider sharing some of the research and assessment activities you have done to learn more about how your students are learning and how you are teaching.
Here are a couple of examples:
A faculty member told of how he wanted to see if involvement in a learning community affected performance in a particular class. The faculty member had two sections of the course, one linked into a learning community, one that wasn't. The two groups seemed to be quite similar in make up. The faculty member paid particular attention to comparing the quality of the written work and was able to find significantly higher quality of work in the section linked to the learning community. Not necessarily "scientific" research in the traditional sense, but extremely important assessment work by the faculty member.
Another faculty member explained how he uses a web-based discussion board to survey students from time to time to see if the students feel they are "getting in" in the class. It is anonymous and she got great response. It helped to know when she could move more quickly and when she needed to slow down a bit.
Let's hear some more!!