GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 154-1
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-1:00 PM


WILFONG, Collette and ARTHURS, Leilani, Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder, Campus Box 399, 2200 Colorado Avenue, Boulder, CO 80309-0399

Student-centered teaching produces positive learning outcomes (Freeman et al., 2014); however, the uptake of instructional best practices continues to be slow and traditional lecture remains the dominant form of instruction in undergraduate STEM courses (Stains et al., 2018). To investigate reasons for this slow uptake and the persistence of traditional lecture, we aim to answer the question: What factors influence instructors’ decisions about whether, to what extent, and how they implement student-centered teaching practices that facilitate active learning? This interview-based study is framed within Bandura’s theory of triadic reciprocal determinism (Bandura, 1977). Bandura’s triad of personal, environmental, and behavioral categories are used to classify the barriers and supports instructors consider when deciding whether and how to implement student-centered teaching practices. We conducted a systematic literature review, to identify potential barriers and supports. The interview protocol was designed using the results of the literature review and focuses on learning more about the lived experiences of instructors who teach undergraduate geoscience courses. Participants in this study include full-time instructors who teach classroom-based geoscience courses (not field courses or laboratory courses) at three different types of institutions – community college, Hispanic serving and emerging research institution, and research-intensive university. Preliminary findings suggest that instructors uniformly consider some factors that influence instructional decision making about whether and how to implement student-centered teaching practices as definite barriers and others as definite supports. However, instructors view some factors as either a barrier or support. Whether these factors are viewed as a barrier or support depends on contextual details relevant to instructors. These findings suggest that contextual nuances in the instructional decision-making process trickle up from the individual instructors’ view into their classroom teaching practices. Furthermore, an understanding of these nuances can be used to support instructors in moving from away traditional lecture-based courses toward more student-centered courses.