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This monograph offers a view into how students at one university regard their undergraduate education. The study is based on essays written by college seniors as part of a comprehensive assessment of general education at the University of Kansas. A sample of students completed a self-assessment, were interviewed by faculty, and were asked to compose a short essay that described the college courses they believed had the greatest impact on them. Eleven disciplines participated in the study over a three-year period. Content analysis grouped responses into the following categories: faculty influences (interactions with students, instructional strategies), development of professional knowledge and skills, development of life skills and expanded perspectives, and discovery of self/new ways of thinking about self. The study found that many of the reasons cited by students fit well with commonly held views of teaching and learning; some noted good teaching, others cited engaging subject matter, some preferred practical career preparation, and still others valued a broader world view. The essays also challenged some prevailing notions about teaching and learning; more comments than were expected cited increases in general life knowledge and skills. Students were also affected by courses that taught them to value their culture and history. (Contains 23 references.) (CH)

Descriptors: College Seniors, College Students, Discourse Analysis, Educational Benefits, Higher Education, Outcomes of Education, Relevance (Education), Student Development, Student Educational Objectives, Student Experience, Student Surveys

Autor: Keller-Wolff, Christine; Eason, Becky; Hinds, Michele


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