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Student advice for success in high structure science and engineering courses

Journal of College Science Teaching—March/April 2024 (Volume 53, Issue 2)

By Arik Ringsby, Justin Shaffer

High structure courses ask students to be active participants in the learning process with pre-class content acquisition and assessment, in-class active learning exercises, and after-class review assignments. While faculty may suggest certain strategies for success in high structure courses, it is unknown what students find valuable and what kinds of advice they would give future students. The goal of the study was therefore to analyze student advice for success from various college high structure biology and engineering courses. Students in eight different courses from two different universities all taught by the same instructor gave advice to future students on the last day of class. Over 2000 pieces of advice were coded using an iterative qualitative methodology and four major categories and 15 total sub-categories were identified. Students most frequently gave advice on study tips, followed by course expectations, interactions with their classmates and instructors, and positive thinking and this advice pattern was similar for all courses in this study. Due to the similarity of the advice, this suggests that students are giving advice on the course structure itself and thus the advice is generalizable to many college science and engineering courses.

Assessment Curriculum Engineering Pedagogy Teacher Preparation Teaching Strategies

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