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Ed Psych students present at NITOP!

Elizabeth Che, Jessica Brodsky, and Maya Rose at NITOP

Elizabeth Che, Maya Rose, and Jessica Brodsky recently headed down to St. Pete Beach for the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (NITOP) Conference. All three students presented posters and enjoyed some time in the sun! NITOP provides a chance for psychology teachers from universities, two-year and four-year colleges to come together and explore and discuss innovative pedagogy and teaching techniques. Plus the conference is held in St. Pete Beach providing the opportunity for walks on the beach in between conference talks! Consider attending in 2021! See photos and abstracts from each of the posters below. 

Walks on the beach!


Poster 1 Title: Teaching Ethics through Role-Play: Comparing Public Health Research Conducted at the Willowbrook State School with the Infamous Tuskegee Study

Authors: Maya C. Rose, Jessica E. Brodsky, Elizabeth S. Che, Dvora Zomberg, Patricia J. Brooks

Abstract: Introductory Psychology students often learn about the Tuskegee syphilis study in discussions of research ethics, yet fail to grasp that human-rights violations in US medical research were widespread prior to the mid-1970s (Jones, Grady, & Lederer, 2016). We describe a role-play activity, where PSY100 students (N = 203) took on roles of researchers, participant-victims, family members, and whistle-blowers, and drew parallels between unethical research conducted at Tuskegee and at the Willowbrook State School. The College of Staten Island is located on the former Willowbrook site, where hepatitis research was conducted on intellectually disabled children (Krugman, 1986); this provided a “situated” opportunity for students to learn about human subjects abuse and current protections. In pre-/post-tests (Weeks 2 and 14), students reported previous knowledge about the Tuskegee study and the Willowbrook State School and procedures for protecting research participants. At post-test, students described their participation in the role-play and what Tuskegee and Willowbrook had in common. At pre-test, 48% of students reported some prior knowledge of either Tuskegee or Willowbrook, which increased to 93% at post-test. Some students (N = 73) reported that they did not participate in the role-play, allowing us to assess benefits of participation on students’ understanding. Open-ended responses mentioned unethical practices, dishonesty, and untreated disease at both research sites, and also indicated common misconceptions. Findings indicate benefits of engaging PSY100 students in role-play to broaden their understanding of changes in societal views about ethical research practices and the need for federal government oversight to ensure the safety of vulnerable individuals.

For a PDF of this poster, click here

Maya Rose presenting at NITOP


Poster 2 Title: Using Content Acquisition Podcasts to Teach Intro Psych Students about the Argumentative Structure of Scientific Abstracts and Develop their Paraphrasing Skills

Authors: Jessica E. Brodsky, Elizabeth S. Che, Arshia K. Lodhi, Patricia J. Brooks

Abstract: Unlike scientific textbooks, empirical journal articles have an argumentative structure, which may be challenging for undergraduates to grasp (Larson et al., 2004; Suppe, 1998). Scientific abstracts typically contain five key pieces of information that summarize the argument of the article: rationale, research question, conclusions, supporting results, and consequences. As such, abstracts may be an effective tool for developing students’ understanding of argumentative texts. We created content acquisition podcasts (narrated slideshows or CAPs; Kennedy et al., 2016) embedded in online homework aimed at teaching Intro Psych students (N = 126) the argumentative structure of abstracts and how to summarize information in their own words. The CAPs explained how to locate articles using Google Scholar, identify the five argument components, use Wikipedia to unpack jargon, and paraphrase information without plagiarizing, using abstracts linked to course topics. We used a computational approach to assess paraphrasing skills by computing the amount of word-level overlap between each original abstract and student summaries. For our analyses, we used the CLAN programs, accessed via the CHILDES project (MacWhinney, 2000). Compared to commercial plagiarism-checkers such as SafeAssign and TurnItIn, CLAN programs provided the most transparency in how plagiarism was detected. Over three assignments (five abstracts total), students showed gains in their ability to extract the five argument components contained within each abstract. They also improved in their ability to rephrase information, as indicated by decreased word-level overlap scores. These findings suggest that online homework assignments offer a viable approach to scaffolding students’ introduction to discipline-specific reading and writing skills.

Jessica Brodsky and Elizabeth Che presenting at NITOP


Poster 3 Title: Do Novice College Instructors Teach Workforce-Relevant Skills? Associations with Teaching Formats, Teachers’ Sense of Autonomy, and Valuation of Student Autonomy

Authors: Elizabeth S. Che, Anna M. Schwartz, Ethlyn S. Saltzman, Ronald C. Whiteman, Patricia J. Brooks

Abstract: Given evidence that fewer than half of undergraduates who obtain bachelor’s degrees in psychology pursue advanced degrees, there has been a call for stronger curricular emphasis on the development of transferable skills and workforce readiness (Appleby 2014; APA 2016). Our study asked novice college instructors whether they taught workforce-relevant skills in their courses, and how this related to use of various teaching formats, their sense of teaching autonomy, and beliefs about the value of student autonomy. Participants completed an online Qualtrics survey (N = 121; 71.9% women, Mage = 30.4 years). We used items from the Employable Skills Self-Efficacy Scale (Ciarocco & Strohmetz, 2018) to create a Likert-scale measure of the extent to which instructors teach workforce-relevant skills. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) indicated seven item-clusters, arranged here in decreasing level of endorsement: (1) writing, (2) information literacy, (3) reading, (4) self-management & professionalism, (5) research methods, (6) groupwork & leadership, (7) technology skills. We also asked instructors how often they used various teaching formats, with PCA indicating four item-clusters, arranged in decreasing level of endorsement: (1) direct teaching (lectures, video-clips, quizzes), (2) active teaching (class discussions, review prior material, demonstrations), (3) interactive lessons (think-pair-share, games, debates), and (4) research (data collection, labs). Teachers’ sense of autonomy was measured using an existing scale (Pearson & Moomaw, 2006); we adapted this scale to also assess teachers’ valuation of student autonomy. Regression models indicated significant alignment of workforce-relevant instruction with choice of teaching formats, teachers’ sense of autonomy, and valuation of student autonomy.

Elizabeth Che presenting at NITOP

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