Analysis of Engineering Faculty Members' Reflections on Planning for Instruction

Open Access
Author:
Warcholak, Nicholas D
Graduate Program:
Educational Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
March 04, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Rayne Audrey Sperling, Dissertation Advisor
  • Robert James Stevens, Committee Member
  • Peggy Noel Van Meter, Committee Member
  • Thomas Litzinger, Special Member
Keywords:
  • course planning
  • PCK
  • engineering education
  • higher education
  • decision making
  • instructional planning
Abstract:
The purpose of this study was to begin development of a method to better describe the instructional planning processes of post-secondary teachers. Long term, it is hoped this work might have constructive implications for faculty development by providing a few case studies demonstrating how instructors with a strong interest in teaching think about what is important to them in planning their courses and how this relates to planning for the instruction of specific topics. Four engineering faculty members from a large research university were interviewed about influences on how they plan to teach a self-selected topic and related concepts and procedures in a course. The resulting transcripts of the interviews were analyzed to identify common themes and differences in planning. Strengths of association between influences on planning were created. The reports of these influences revealed that all participants focused on how to encourage their students to improve their abilities to transfer knowledge learned in the classroom to novel situations, though the planning decisions they made to achieve this goal varied significantly among them. The reports also confirmed the assumption that asking the participants to reflect on planning for instruction at the topic level would generate more detailed and nuanced discussions of planning influences than asking them to reflect solely on their course planning activities. Comparisons of the findings to those in the research on course planning and suggestions for future research were made.