Date of Award

5-2006

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Educational Psychology

Major Professor

Katherine Greenberg

Committee Members

Ralph Brockett, Ken Newton, Mary Ziegler

Abstract

My purpose in conducting this research project was to engage in collaborative action research with a group of faculty members in order to learn more about my own facilitation of collaborative learning and to identify ways in which I could improve. The participants and I used dialogue during our group meetings to help each other with the development and implementation of Classroom Assessment Techniques in the classroom and the review of the results. The structure for the semester-long project was the development of a Classroom Assessment Techniques seminar handbook for future use with other faculty in the college. The data analysis focused in two areas: 1) describing what the experience was like for the participants, and 2) describing my own experience.

Themes emerged from the hermeneutic analysis of data about the experience of participants: the faculty participants engaged because they had an “interest in making changes” in their practices; they had an appreciation for the diverse backgrounds of fellow participants – “what people bring to the table.” In their descriptions of the collaborative processes of the project, they described their experience as “figuring it out together” and characterized the interactions with the group as a “shot in the arm.” Participants also described several aspects of “just having the time,” related to the need for dedicated time to discuss teaching and learning; feeling there wasn’t always enough time to engage in collaborative learning; differing preferences for the best time of day to meet; the fact that collaborative learning processes have to “build over time;” and an observation about the tension between allowing the time for social construction and dialogue versus the desire for the efficient use of time preferred by busy people. Project participants described not only changes in their knowledge through learning new content about Classroom Assessment Techniques but also described personal and professional changes such as a shift to a student- centered approach to teaching. They described their experience of the facilitator as a “guide from the side,” who facilitated with flexibility, intentionality, and mutuality and stressed the need for relationships and a safe environment for collaborative learning to occur.

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