Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

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What’s the Eberly Center reading and thinking about this month?

The Research and Scholarship Digest, published the first Monday of each month, consists of short summaries of recently peer-reviewed studies on teaching and learning topics. This digest offers a view into what we are reading and thinking about at the Eberly Center that:

• adds to our understanding of how students learn
• is potentially generalizable across teaching contexts in higher education
• provokes reflection on implications for our teaching and educational development practices.

We hope the readers of this digest will find it a useful resource for staying in-tune with the rapidly expanding education research literature.

December 2018

Can I get better? Exploring mindset theory in the introductory communication course

In this study, researchers adapt a mindset scale to examine the role of a growth mindset in an introductory communication (i.e. public speaking) course, asking whether having a growth mindset was correlated with public speaking anxiety (PSA), interpersonal communication competence, student engagement, and student performance. They were also particularly interested in whether a growth mindset could help make predictions related to any of these factors. 1037 participants taking one of two, required introductory communication course completed survey instruments at the end of the semester and individual speech grades were also analyzed. Results indicated a significant negative correlation between growth mindset and PSA and significant positive correlations were found for mindset and student engagement, performance, and communication competence. Researchers suggest that next steps include research into possible interventions.

Nordin, K., & Broeckelman-Post, M. A. (2018). Communication Education, 1-17.
[link to article]

Do Students Overestimate Their Contribution to Class? Congruence of Student and Professor Ratings of Class Participation

Research suggests that students' perceptions of their class particiation are not always congruent with professors' perceptions. The authors conducted two studies to examine (1) the extent to which students' and professors' perceptions are misaligned and (2) whether mid-term feedback would increase congruence. In Study 1, students and professors across nine courses (N = 191) used a rubric to assess student participation. In Study 2, students (N = 87) were non-randomly selected into a treatment group that received mid-term feedback (using the same rubric from Study 1) on their participation and a control group that did not receive feedback. Students and professors in both groups then used the rubric again to evaluate student participation at the end of term. Findings show that student participation is generally correlated with professors' perceptions, but that the largest perception gap occurs for low student participators. Additionally, mid-term feedback was not shown to increase congruence between student and professor ratings of participation. 

Meyer, M. L., McDonald, S. A., DellaPietra, L., Wiechnik, M., & Dasch-Yee, K. B. (2018). Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning18(3), 44-54.
[link to article]

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