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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Thorhallur Orn Flosason
Doctor of Philosophy
Title: Evaluating the Impact of Small-Group Discussion on Learning in an Organizational Psychology Class Utilizing a Class Response System
Dr. Heather McGee, Chair
Dr. Alyce Dickinson
Dr. Ron VanHouten
Dr. Kevin Munson
Date: Friday, May 21, 2010 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
3715 Wood Hall
A classroom response system is a technology that allows individual students to provide answers to questions posed by the instructor during lecture using hand held remotes (clickers) that transmit a signal to the instructor’s computer via a receiver and computer software (Judson & Sawada, 2002). This instructional technology is widely used in colleges and several studies have shown that it can enhance learning outcomes and its use is generally viewed favorably by students and instructors alike.
The first part of the present study uses an alternating treatments design to examine whether discussing questions in small groups before answering improved accurate responding on similar questions on unit exams. A social validity questionnaire was also administered to assess students’ perceptions of clickers and discussions as an effective instructional tool. The second part of the study uses a between-subjects design to compare the exam performance of students who used clickers to answer questions during lectures to the exam performance of students who did not answer questions using clickers. The results of the first study did not show any clear advantages of small-group discussion in terms of learning outcomes. However, many students expressed perceived learning benefits of engaging in small-group discussion and almost all participants viewed using clickers favorably. The second study shows that using clickers during lecture can enhance exam performance, but may have done so by increasing student attendance as a function of the point system associated with using the clickers. The implications of these findings with respect to previous research are discussed.