Improving Teaching and Learning

Part of the InTeGrate University Texas El Paso Program Model

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Impact on Teaching and Learning

When we began implementation efforts across UTEP and EPCC in Fall 2014, we had four instructors, teaching four courses and reaching 198 students using InTeGrate materials. In Fall 2015 we had fourteen instructors teaching 21 classes to 496 students. These classes included on-line and face to face courses including Physical Geology laboratories, Introduction to Environmental Science, Earth Science, Environmental Geology and The Blue Planet. Teaching assistants, adjunct faculty and full-time faculty were all involved. Interviews with instructors from fall 2015 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Mar26 16) and with instructors from spring 2016 (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB May27 16) describe how the instructors implemented the InTeGrate materials.

Impact 1:

In the 2015-2016 academic year, there were more than 22 instructors using InTeGrate materials in introductory geology and environmental science classes taught at UTEP, EPCC and ECHS. InTeGrate materials have also been used in one upper division and one graduate level course. More than 500 students used InTeGrate materials during the Spring 2016 semester. Much of this progress has been aided by a series of workshops offered for instructors and teaching assistants during 2015-2016 with walk-throughs of the InTeGrate website and hands-on experience with InTeGrate pedagogies.

UTEP and EPCC instructors have used InTeGrate materials since Fall 2013 and each semester since, there has been an increase in the numbers of instructors using the material. Instructors in three of five EPCC campuses and at two high schools are now (as of the 2015-2016 academic year) using InTeGrate materials for introductory geology courses. About 75% of the on-line introductory geology courses at UTEP use InTeGrate materials each semester. Thirty to fifty percent of face to face classes and laboratories in geology and environmental science at UTEP use InTeGrate materials, including all laboratories in Physical Geology. Twenty-six faculty attended the initial Fall 2015 workshop and about one-third of these faculty went on to use InTeGrate materials during the Fall or Spring semester.

Instructors who have used the materials are highly satisfied with the results (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Dec14 15), and nearly all have increased the number of materials they use each semester. It has been especially rewarding to engage UTEP graduate teaching assistants in the use of the materials and two of these students plan to use and evaluate student response to InTeGrate materials as part of their M.S. theses.

In longitudinal studies of two courses (one upper division and one lower division), we have tracked student outcomes and demonstrated that the addition of InTeGrate materials and other active learning materials has significantly increased student performance (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 54kB Dec14 15) and, based on feedback from student reflections (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Dec14 15), students enjoy the materials. Preliminary data for the upper division course (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 34kB Jun29 16) suggests this performance is enhanced regardless of who is teaching the course. Even the inclusion of 1 activity from the Climate of Change module produced differences in students' abilities to master concepts related to climate change (for instance, see this 2014 AGU poster (Acrobat (PDF) 3MB Mar26 16) comparing student outcomes).

Impact 2:

Improved communication between faculty at UTEP and EPCC has helped to ensure similar course content is taught at all institutions, thus ensuring that students who transfer to UTEP to complete a BS degree have comparable curriculum to students starting a degree at UTEP.

A workshop featuring InTeGrate materials served as a first step to have EPCC and UTEP faculty meet. This was followed with a January 2016 meeting with EPCC faculty to discuss course content and adjustment of the articulation agreement following degree changes at EPCC. A second meeting in February 2016 brought together fourteen UTEP and EPCC faculty and staff to discuss articulation, recruitment and assisting transfer students. The group resolved to meet once each semester to continue building communication between institutions. A presentation given at the Texas Community College Teachers' Association Meeting (18 attendees) in February 2016 encouraged faculty from other 2 year colleges to begin dialogs with nearby 4-year colleges using similar types of course offerings and degree plans.

Impact 3:

Develop a bridge program to aid transfer students to succeed at UTEP.

We have identified eleven EPCC students who will likely transfer to UTEP in Fall 2016. We are working on a series of joint activities for the students to come to UTEP and meet UTEP faculty and students such as the Geo-Ventures program (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB May27 16). We are also assessing the students attitudes and knowledge in two classes the students are enrolled in (on different campuses) and will compare to assessments made in the spring semester of next year following the transfer.

Impact 4:

Utilize InTeGrate modules in UTEP upper division courses for majors and non-majors.

InTeGrate materials have been used for three years in an upper division course in Geological Engineering/Engineering Geology taught for juniors in Civil Engineering. Student outcomes (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 54kB Dec14 15) have steadily improved over the past three years. This semester, the course is being taught by a new instructor and preliminary results from the class indicate that the students are enjoying and learning the materials in a manner similar to that of previous years. Several InTeGrate activities were tested in a graduate level course for seven teachers in Fall 2015 (Fundamentals of Earth Science) prior to use by teaching assistants in Physical Geology laboratories.

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