Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Adult & Higher Education

Date of Defense

12-15-2010

Graduate Advisor

Kent Farnsworth, PhD

Committee

Kohn, Dixie

Isaac-Savage, Paulette

Somers, Pat

Abstract

ABSTRACT Stephen K. Biermann PERCEPTIONS OF EFFECTIVE INSTRUCTION IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES: A STUDENT VIEW This qualitative study was designed to identify key elements of effective instruction as perceived by community college students. Since the majority of research pertaining to effective instruction has been primarily conducted using a quantitative format, it is important to consider other methodologies for future research. The use of qualitative research helped capture student dialogue in its fullest, unhindered by the constraints of a survey tool or scale. The students involved in the study voluntarily participated in either individual interviews or focus groups and commented upon various aspects of collegiate instruction, including direct instruction methodologies, instructional enthusiasm, and the use of instructional technology. A moderator conducted each of the nine individual interviews and three focus groups required to research the topic. Forty-four students from three community colleges participated in the study, with three individual interviews and a focus group conducted at each community college campus. Participants in the study were required to have a limited amount of community college experience. The individual interviews and focus groups were recorded and later transcribed. Together with notes taken by the moderator, the transcriptions were analyzed and themes were identified through the use of a qualitative data software package. The emerging themes allowed the researcher to draw significant conclusions or theories concerning the community college student perspective of effective instruction. The research indicated that students overwhelmingly found instructional enthusiasm to be the most effective instructional method. While the direct instruction model was also reported as significant, other factors such as the use of instructional technology were viewed as insignificant.

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