things, 1. the motivational level of the student, and 2. the learning style of the student.” Finally, one faculty member said the answer could be yes and no, “while yes, some individuals are capable of learning in a untraditional manner it is difficult to define high quality learning in a context that would apply to every student. And no, because traditional facilities offer a variety of qualified instructors plus allowing greater interaction between students.”
To question two, do you like the idea of sharing your work, life and educational experiences as part of the learning process, most instructors commented positively? All instructors felt that their rich learning experiences should be shared with their students. One faculty commented, “yes, I think that part of my teaching style is to bring a part of myself to the classroom and the material I teach.” Another faculty member said, “yes, because I have had what I feel is such a rich set of learning experiences, I hope that the people I’m around could share that as well.” One faculty member succinctly stated, “whatever it takes.” A few faculty commented, “sometimes, it depends on my knowledge-base in the area of study,” also, “not completely, everyone has a certain comfort level and if forced to go beyond that people will withdraw and cease to learn.”
Question three asked, do you think it is possible for increased learning to take place when work/knowledge/life experiences are shared with peers? All respondents had positive statements about this question. “If the right framework is established, and the group is trained to use the experience in particular ways, the sharing with peers can be rich,” said one respondent.” Another respondent stated, “yes, increased learning in this instance may relate to the real world.” Another said, “certainly, my knowledge has grown just listening to others and their experiences.” Finally, a faculty member stated, “yes, work/knowledge/life experiences are part of the learning process.”
Question four inquired, do you accept the value of facilitated learning as an advantage over the more traditional lecture based learning process? The comments for this question was mixed. For the most part, many instructors felt that it would depend on the circumstances. One respondent stated, “it really depends on the student. Some are simply not grounded enough or confident enough to be self-motivated.” Another faculty member said, “I know of many students who are not self-motivated, this style of teaching will not work, but some students may need more assistance in the facilitated learning environment.” One respondent said, “what is facilitated learning (sorry - I’m a musician)? I believe lecture holds a valued place in higher ed.” Lastly, a respondent stated, “The individual becomes engrossed in the learning process by sharing his or her own ideas. This integrates the individual into the instructor and the learner at the same time.”
The last pre-assessment question asked, have you incorporated cooperative learning into instructional methods? This question also got mixed responses. Five instructors answered positively saying that they have used this teaching strategy before. One faculty member stated, “I teach writing which pedagogically and practically means students interacting with others.” Another responded, “Yes, I have assigned students into pairs to work on assignments. I have also asked for group presentations.” One respondent explained, “yes, in my prior duties I had one class that was 90 to 95% group learning.” Some faculty used cooperative learning a little, while others did not use it all for instruction. These respondents stated, “not too often. The nature of my courses thus far have not been very conducive for cooperative learning methods,” “to some degree. I had to set up labs for students to work together and may have used cooperative learning in a limited way.” Two faculty members flatly stated, “no,” and “not sure.”
Faculty Interaction: Post Survey
At the end of the two weeks, all instructors involved in the project-based assignment were given a simple post survey. The post survey primary contained open-ended questions about the direct impact this assignment had on the users as teachers. The questions were:
How were you actively engaged?
What aspect of the project-based assignment will you immediate incorporate into your teaching?
What was missing that would make this project-based assignment more valuable to you?
Most instructors completed the online collaborative project-based assignment within two weeks. Instructors who had experience using computers or the software program Blackboard had finished the assignment early. Faculty who had limited computer experience took the full two weeks to complete. Although the participants did not choose their own group members their post survey answers indicated that they were actively engaged in the project-based assignment. This was primarily because of the pre-activity assessment,