2009 Portland GSA Annual Meeting (18-21 October 2009)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 11:20 AM


CALDWELL, Marianne O'Neal, Division of Mathematics and Sciences, Hillsborough Community College, 4001 Tampa Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL 33614 and WANG, Ping, Coastal Research Lab, University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620, mcaldwell@hccfl.edu

Surveys of student attitudes are valuable in gauging the effectiveness of instruction in geosciences courses. Long used in other disciplines, student attitude surveys are useful in determining subject areas that are difficult to students and identifying situations that warrent changes in teaching techniques. An attitude survey was conducted on earth science and geology lab courses to determine student attitudes and discern any changes in the attitudes throughout the semester. First the parameters of interest were determined and the survey was designed to measure these parameters. This attitudinal survey measured student opinions on attitude, value, and difficulty. Attitude referred to the student’s general attitude on geosciences. Value represented the student’s view of how important learning about geoscience will be in their future career or personal life. Difficulty measured how hard to understand the student found the geoscience concepts. In this survey one goal was to determine if there was a change in student attitude throughout the course. Therefore the survey was administered in two steps. One survey was given near the beginning of the course with a second identical survey conducted at the end of the course. Surveys can be administered using either pencil and scantron or online through a survey instrument. All surveys were anonymous to encourage students to be truthful in their answers. Once the survey was complete, statistical analyses of Cronbach’s alpha were performed to measure the degree of validity of the individual questions and survey in general. Cronbach’s alpha values indicated that the results were valid, and can be used as a guide for potential instructional changes.