Conlin and Schaffrath Present on Instructional Collaboration and Research on Linking Courses and Building Learning Communities

Posted on 4/16/2018 1:04:07 PM

Erin Conlin (Department of History) and Stephan Schaffrath (Department of Developmental Studies) presented on their experience with linking courses at IUP at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Developmental Educators in York, Pennsylvania, in April 2018. They shared their research data and experience on linking one section of HIST 196 (Explorations in US History) with one section of DVST 070 (Reading Skills for College Study) in fall semester of 2017.

Even though their collected data of this pilot study resulted in no significant statistical difference between experimental and control groups on several measures (GPAs, course grades, metacognitive measures, and Accuplacer pre- and post-test scores), Conlin and Schaffrath believe that additional research with more subjects and improved instructional as well as support methods could render a clearer picture on how linked courses and learning communities may affect IUP first-year students’ performances and how this will influence these students’ retention and eventual graduation rates. Furthermore, Conlin and Schaffrath found that cross-departmental learning community projects like this can help faculty improve their own educational competencies and teaching methods.

This research is part of Stephan Schaffrath’s Campus Innovation Project for the Kellogg Institute of the National Center for Developmental Education at Appalachian State University.