RESEARCH STATEMENT

     Over the past 20 years, I have been very fortunate to publish over 140 scholarly articles. In this time, I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with curious professionals, capture exciting learning outcomes and document empirical evidence on the effectiveness of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). I will describe my scholarly efforts to date, including methodology and key results through the themes of pedagogy, emerging instructional technology, and faculty development.

 

PEDAGOGY

     I began my scholarly career with a focus on pedagogy or how college students learn, specifically how they could become better at self-regulating their learning. As professors, we enjoy interacting with our students, however at some point, they will depart from our classes and campuses and need to posses the skills to determine what they know, what they do not know and how to fill the gaps. In this paper, I combined the concept of self-regulated learning with the relatively new beginnings of students learning online.

 

• Hargis, J. (2000). The self-regulated learner advantage: Learning science on the Internet. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 4(4).

     In this paper, I explored how we could both determine learner self-regulated learning and if that played a role in their success when learning in an on-line environment. The methods I used to collect data was a quasi-experimental pre/post assessment with a control group. The instruments included two alternate forms of an on-line instructional web site containing the same concepts. The first, a constructivist format provided more links for students a non-linear path to connect concepts with the material in ways that may be consistent with how they process information. The second, an objectivist format, is similar to presentations found in academic settings where linear lectures are provided. This on-line study examined the effect of variables such as age, gender, racial identify, attitude, aptitude, self-regulated learning and self-efficacy on learning.

 

     Key results indicated that typical learner characteristics were not roadblocks to on-line learning. However, the study group consisted of post-secondary science and engineering majors using chemistry content-oriented web pages. The results did demonstrate that all participants were able to significantly increase their scores between the pre- and post-assessments after completing the on-line instructional module. Self- regulated learning ability was measured and practically all participants scored high on this parameter. This indicates that most technically-oriented college students either inherently possess the ability to regulate their own learning or they have integrated this characteristic into their tool set in order to become successful science and engineering students. Self-regulation may be an important attribute to self-identify individuals who may have higher chances of success in on-line learning environments.

 

     Following my initial work on self-regulated learning, I explored the function of using project-based learning (PBL) as an authentic context to create practice ready leaners.

• Johansen, D., Scaff, C., & Hargis, J. (2009). Interdisciplinary project-based model for enhanced instruction of marketing courses. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 3(1). 

This study examined the ability of an interdisciplinary group project to develop student’s abilities to work successfully in groups in a creative context. Group dynamics were investigated via interaction effects between students in a Graphic Design and Marketing class project. The study design was a pre/post-assessment with a mid-point assessment. Students were grouped in seven groups per class for a total of 22 groups. The first survey was conducted at the start of the semester when students had been assigned to groups but before they had any experience working together as a group. The second survey was conducted at the first critical point in the project, a point when the first group assignment was due six weeks after the first survey. The final survey was conducted after the project had been completed, seven weeks after the second survey.

 

     As a result of the project, student perceptions concerning the importance of creative contributions, as well as group participation factors became more positive, demonstrating that interdisciplinary group projects with students in a creative discipline offer business students a unique “outside the box” learning opportunity. 

 

INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNOLOGY 

     I have spent a significant amount of my scholarly time on exploring the effect which technology could afford pedagogy. At all times, the focus was the pedagogy and not the new technology. One of my first publications was on using scanners and digital graphics in a science course, the question was how could we enhance accessibility, mobility and student engagement in the sciences. In two different studies, one in a primary school setting, the second in a secondary school setting, we were able to share how relatively low cost digital tools could enhance student knowledge, skills and dispositions.

 

• Hargis, J., & Houston, C. (2000). Electronic leaf identification. NSTA Science and Children, 37(8), 20-23.

     This paper presented information on a different method for plant identification. Traditional methods of identifying leaves with field guide books provide opportunities for classification--a critical component of the science process. By collecting leaves from plants that interest them, students have motivation, ownership, and accountability. A modified twist of this traditional method allowed students to process the material electronically through scanners, computers, and printers. The method for examining outcomes was descriptive as this was a preliminary study pioneering possibilities in using instructional technology. The study was used as the culminating experience of a plant unit, this leaf project was divided into plant classification groups by divisions; fifth- through eighth-grade students were expected to find examples from each group. Initially, students read a chapter in a textbook, followed by a class discussion involving familiar plants that students had encountered. Next, the teacher presented a lesson on how to use plant identification field books. Finally, students accessed several Internet sites, reviewed the information, and documented notes.

 

     Key results included student creation of their own electronic leaf identification site, which was shared with the teacher, parents and community. This qualitative study resulted in high ownership of the concepts, as well as perceived higher student motivation for subsequent concepts, in which they requested to use a similar technique to scan and identify insects. [The teacher also won a district award for this project]

 

• Hargis, J., & Stehr, J. (2001). See yourself doing chemistry: Integrating technology into a chemistry lab. NSTA The Science Teacher, 68(4), 24-27. 

     One of the primary objectives of this paper was to provide a relevant, well-designed hands-on laboratory exercise, which promoted construction of ideas that can be used in further science processing. The unique aspect of this approach is the integration of technology in the form of digital photography, a portable computer and projection device. This particular activity fits well in a high school chemistry curriculum as it has been seen to be interesting to students in this age group, emphasizes earth concepts and aligns itself well with the following National Science Education Standards. The quantitative experiment method included using four classes in a 90-minute block schedule. The first two periods were not provided with the technology and the last two classes were provided with digital photographs taken of students while performing the lab exercise. The key step in this study was that where digital photos were collected, students were allowed to see themselves performing each step as the teacher debriefed the process. A pre/post-assessment was provided to all of the students.

 

     The results indicated that there was a higher level of achievement for the classes where technology was used. Elevated statistical analysis were not performed, simply the increase in correct responses between the pre and post-assessments were compared, which produced a 40 percent difference in favor of the technology-enhanced method. 

 

     More recently, mobile learning has become of interest to education and in 2012-13, I was able to lead a large scale federal initiative, which produced ten scholarly publications. I will share three in particular which represents the design approach and findings.

 

• Cavanaugh, C., Hargis, J., Kamali, T., & Soto, M. (2013). Substitution to augmentation: Faculty adoption of iPad mobile learning in higher education. Interactive Technology and Smart Education, 10(2). 

     This article presented an examination of the first six months of a national higher education iPad implementation project involving 14,000 incoming students based on faculty shift from substituting their teaching methods with mobile technology to augmentation of teaching methods with new affordances of mobile technology. The design method was a pre/post-assessment using descriptions of teaching practices at a baseline sharing event among teachers and a second similar event. The parameters examined were five indicators from the technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge (TPACK) model including the substitution, augmentation, modification, and redefinition (SAMR) levels of technology integration.

 

     Results indicated that no significant difference (p=.069) was found in the technology focus of abstracts, although there was a significant (p=.0015) difference in the content focus. There was no significant difference (p=.129) for the pedagogical focus. For technology integration into content teaching, there was no significant difference ( p=.379) in level of substitution versus other levels (augmentation, modification or redefinition), although substitution increased to higher levels; with a corresponding decrease in abstracts that focused merely on substitution. For the level of technology adoption, there was a significant difference (p=.0083) in levels, with a shift to higher levels of integration.

 

• Hargis, J., Cavanaugh, C., Kamali, T., & Soto, M. (2013). Measuring the difficult to measure: iPad mobile learning. International Journal of Mobile and Blended Learning, 3(2), 60-77. 

     This study applies a comprehensive set of measures to document teaching practice and instructor responses when integrating new mobile technology devices in the classroom. The methods used to collect data included direct measurement of teacher behavior, case-study using a SWOT analysis and a dispositional survey focused on teacher knowledge of instructional technology. The instruments included a quantitative rubric for observing teaching with mobile learning devices in higher education; an interview protocol for capturing faculty levels of mobile learning knowledge; and a survey of faculty understanding and implementation of the adopted four pillars of mobile learning. The pillars were chosen as foundations to guide why, what, where, and how mobile learning technology supports student learning.

 

     Key results for the classroom observations show teachers quickly using many aspects of mobile learning to further engage learners in active learning. The case-study interview and survey results indicate that the mobile education environment is supporting social, collaborative learning. Although these findings may not be causal in nature, they do illustrate some interesting relationships beckoning future research.

 

• Hargis, J., Cavanaugh, C., Kamali, T., & Soto, M. (2013). A federal higher education iPad mobile learning initiative: Triangulation of data to determine early effectiveness. Journal of Innovation in Higher Education, 39(1).

     This paper presents faculty perceptions of the first month of iPad deployment in a national college system and a case study describing the integration of mobile learning devices in one college, interpreted within the framework of a SWOT analysis. A qualitative methodology was performed, which incorporated the data collection instruments of 1) case study interviews; 2) a Faculty Attitudes towards Technology- Supported Learning Environments (FATSLE) survey; and 3) review of real- time evaluation documentation from iPad lead faculty from a wiki-based project management site.

 

     Findings indicate that overall, the large-scale deployment of iPad mobile learning devices was associated with high faculty engagement in formal and informal professional development activities and adoption of an active student-centered pedagogy. In addition, the program stimulated innovative approaches to technical challenges; and it spurred development and evaluation of new digital content.

 

FACULTY DEVELOPMENT 

     Along with exploring emerging technology, I always maintain and enjoy a major role in faculty development, encouraging and co-authoring papers with colleagues. I was very excited to prepare a culminating paper, which connects theoretical frameworks on faculty development. In this paper, we share a background of learning, and then add layers of literature and importance of an informal environment, interaction, and social emotional intelligence.

 

• Yee, K., & Hargis, J. (2012). Indirect faculty development and the role of sociability. Journal of Centers for Teaching and Learning, (4), 61-79. 

     Informal socialization is an essential ingredient in effective faculty development, and a necessary component of successful centers for teaching and learning. There is more to assisting faculty than providing workshops, even assuming faculty retain and use the methods discussed at the workshops. Foundational learning theories apply to faculty as well as any learner, and identifying how to create sustainable relationships with faculty is a key component of successful development. Theoretical models of socialization apply partly to this context, but a new model informed by emotional intelligence is needed for authentically connecting faculty with developers.

 

     I have also been successful at engaging colleagues in co-authoring. The following papers share examples of collaboration across multiple disciplines.

 

• Little, T., & Hargis, J. (2008). Outcomes based assessment in the Allied Sciences. Journal of Faculty Development, 22(2), 89-95. 

     This case study discusses the multiple factors that influence student learning outcomes assessment in allied health programs. Allied health require licensure which could be seen as the ultimate student learning outcome assessment. This paper proposes that a clinical perspective applied to the academic setting is advantageous in student learning outcomes assessment.

 

• Brown, S., & Hargis, J. (2008). Undergraduate research in art history using project- based learning. Journal of Faculty Development, 22(2), 152-158. 

     Fostering a pedagogically and intellectually meaningful undergraduate research program in Art History is a goal that must overcome logistical and pedagogical challenges. New digital technologies and PBL techniques have broad potential to help meet these challenges, as the results of this case study suggest. An image attribution study conducted was designed to gauge the effectiveness and practicality of PBL methods in Art History. A diverse cohort of forty students enrolled in an undergraduate course. Students’ ability to produce accurate conclusions in these areas of inquiry indicate a fundamental intellectual capacity for stylistic analysis and comparison that is likely comparable to that of more advanced, graduate students. Of the group of forty, over three-quarters of students accurately attributed their sculpture and identified at least one stylistically related monument.

 

• Welch, C., Davies, J., & Hargis, J. (2008). The Bridge course design: Faculty collaboration, student-centered learning, and cross-course formative assessment. International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 2(2). 

     This paper reports on the effectiveness of a course design that bridges classes from two different disciplines. The Bridge design creates assignments in two classes: a summary class and a panel class. The design encourages students to engage in teaching and interacting with their peers within and across disciplines, and provides instructors with unique opportunities for formative assessment. Relative to control groups, students in the summary class perceived greater opportunities to teach peers, participate in class discussions, think critically, and engage in collaborative learning. Students in the panel class showed gains in critical thinking. To test the hypothesis of critical thinking, papers written by control group students were compared to papers written by participants in the Bridge project. A random sample of papers were independently evaluated as part of an annual assessment process conducted by a committee in the professor’s department. The papers were masked to protect the identity of the writers, and the judges were unaware of the writers’ involvement. By performing an ANOVA and t-tests, the results indicate that the Bridge design significantly increased collaboration, F (3, 151) = 24.65, p <.001. Post hoc tests confirm that the Bridge class perceived greater opportunities to collaborate with classmates and the instructor than the three control classes, respectively.

 

• Gao,  J., & Hargis, J. (2010). Promoting active learning in computer science education. Journal of Effective Teaching, 10(2) 81-93. 

     This paper describes specific active learning strategies for teaching computer science, integrating both instructional technologies and non-technology-based strategies shown to be effective in the literature. The theoretical learning components addressed include an intentional method to help students build metacognitive abilities, as well as improve on their self-efficacy, both inside their chosen discipline and connections to other interdisciplinary topics. The results indicate that students are very open and eager to embrace novel ways to become engaged in learning in the area of computer science. 

 

     One of the best examples of merging faculty development and instructional technology was when working with new faculty on how they can gain a broader voice from students using a low threshold technology tool. 

 

• Hargis, J., Jensen, S., Kohn, C., Normand, M., & Schooler, D. (2008). Providing faculty iPods to explore innovative teaching and learning. Journal of Effective Teaching, 8(2), 19-29. 

     In this study, the Center for Teaching and Learning provided a small group of faculty members (n=11) from different disciplines with an iPod, microphone, training, support and collaboration opportunities. The faculty members were asked to create innovative instructional methods and then use the tool in their classes. Our goal was to develop specific applications for the tech tool, and ultimately assist faculty and subsequently students, in integrating functional instructional technology. The research design was a case-study where faculty members used the iPod device in their teaching and learning, producing specific methods for implementation as well as limitations.

 

Detailed Description of a Research Agenda 

     In one sentence, my research agenda could be described as “to explore how emerging instructional technology can impact teaching and learning". With a background in both the natural and social sciences, I have always been curious on how people process information. As a long-standing researcher, I have been fortunate to explore my passion on how ever- emerging instructional technology impacts teaching and learning. I have never considered myself a 'techie' and when asked what I do, the word 'teacher' comes from my mouth without thinking. So, my research consistently takes the perspective of a teacher, aligned with foundation learning theories and how technology might assist engaging students in the learning process. I believe my prior research has shown that I live on the 'bleeding edge' of technology. One of my goals is to integrate new technology into my teaching, collect data, and share the outcomes so that others can determine if the technology aligns with their teaching style.

 

     I am extremely excited about the current trends in education today and believe that there is a significant need for generalizing my prior research into tomorrow's answers. There are still many big unanswered questions on to what extent and perhaps what context educational technology is most effective. Most educators are aware of the New Media Consortium (NMC) annual Horizon reports. In 2013, over 50 professional with experience in educational technology prepared the 2013 report predicting a focus on MOOCs and mobile learning tablets over the next year; gamification and learning analytics over the next 2-3 years; and 3D printing and wearable technology over the next 4-5 years. The 2014 Horizon report (Feb 3, 2014), share information on the “important developments in Educational Technology. In the one year or less time-to-adoption, they believe a focus on flipped classrooms and learning analytics; two to three years, 3D printing and gamification; and four to five years, quantified self (wearable technology and internet of things) and virtual assistants (http://www.nmc.org/publications/2014-horizon-report-higher-ed).

 

     With respect to my curiosity coupled with learner and teacher needs and validated by the NMC Horizon report, my future research will focus on...

  • how we can use big data, especially media-rich qualitative data and learning analytics to better inform teachers;

  • developing useful, non-linear adaptive learning programs, which will allow students to foster self-regulation as the programs redirect their learning;

  • additional exploration with mobile 1:1 personalized learning, especially with using tablets for active learning, authentic project-based learning and assessments;

  • exploring how mobile learning can connect with electronic portfolio's and their use as both formative and summative assessments, perhaps as a culminating experience for a course; 

  • using the TPCK model as a reference for creating and testing dynamic, interactive electronic Content, perhaps developing an online peer-reviewed Content Creation ecosystem; 

  • determining how the 21st Century skills of Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking align with educational technology; and

  • continuing to use the SAMR model for faculty development to determine if/how long it takes for faculty to move from Substitution to Redefinition, as well as key attributes, which enable this movement; and examine "Connectivism" learning theory comparing it to the concept of electracy. 

 

     The importance of my research agenda to the education discipline is the hyper-focus on using instructional tools to engage learners. Engagement has been shown to be a primary factor for learner motivation, information processing and ultimate success. The big problem that I believe is present and that I can tackle is both the relevance of educational technology as well as the faculty development piece of encouraging faculty to embrace the technology. I have an extensive background in faculty development across disciplines and believe that most faculty truly want to improve, and the obstacles are typically a lack of time, risk-aversion due to high stakes if they fail, and their social emotional competency of feeling like they should already know everything about teaching.

 

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