Engineering faculty members' beliefs and practices in a technologically equipped classroom
Lara Hagenson Toney Niles, Iowa State University, United States
Iowa State University . Awarded
Engineering programs continually strive to improve offerings in higher education, including the application of technology to increase access for adult learners who cannot attend on-site because they are professionals working in the field. Although, engineering faculty members are under pressure to improve their teaching, including both content and pedagogy, faculty beliefs and practices about teaching may or may not be consistent with their behavior during instruction. This research examined two engineering faculty members' espoused beliefs and classroom practices (including the use of technology) in the teaching of two different engineering courses in a College of Engineering's distance education unit. The research began with epistemology and provided a non-dualistic, phenomenographic perspective of engineering faculty using case study research, because as Merriam (1998) noted each phenomenon examined was intrinsically bound to one engineering faculty member. The data were analyzed using two theoretical frameworks, the Epistemological Beliefs Inventory (Schraw, Bendixen, & Dunkle, 2002) and instruments adopted and modified from Martin, Prosser, Trigwell, Ramsden, and Benjamin (2000). The two rich case studies matched two of Martin et al.'s categories and illustrated: the fit between faculty espoused beliefs and classroom practices, the influence of faculty preparation for teaching, the influence of faculty pedagogical beliefs on their course delivery with technology, and the pedagogical roles of the faculty and the engineering distance education staff. This research found that one engineering faculty member's espoused beliefs were a good fit with his classroom practices using technology, whereas the other member of faculty (who had less preparation for teaching) appeared to have less coherence between his teaching approaches and course management techniques.
Niles, L.H.T. Engineering faculty members' beliefs and practices in a technologically equipped classroom. Ph.D. thesis, Iowa State University.
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