Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Edward R. Buckner

Committee Members

Ron Hay, Horace Smith


Self-paced instructional units were developed, used, and evaluated in two dendrology-silvics courses. This new teaching scheme: (1) com-pletely replaced the group-paced, lectured laboratory sessions with self— paced, indoor, slide-tape programs in Dendrology and Silvics of the Gymnosperms (Forestry 3050), and (2) supplemented the group-paced, lec-tured fieldtrips with a self-paced, taped, fieldtrip program in Dendrology and Silvics of the Woody Angiosperms (Forestry 3040). The study was divided into two major phases: (1) development of the instructional units, and (2) evaluation of the instructional units. The development phase was concerned with: (1) selection of appropriate instructional materials; (2) preparation of the instructional units; and (3) operational procedures of this teaching system. The evaluation phase was concerned with: (1) the learning effectiveness of the self-paced instructional units; (2) the students' attitudes toward the self—paced instructional units, and (3) the costs of implementing the self-paced instructional units. Several evaluation procedures were used in the evaluation phase of this study. Student performance or achievement was evaluated in the Gymnosperms course by: (1) comparing the learning effectiveness of one of the eight self-paced instructional units developed with the same material taught in a traditional group-paced setting, and (2) observing the final grade distributions of the two classes that used the self-instructional system. Student performance or achievement was evaluated in the Angiosperms course by examing the students' grade distributions from a written post-test. In both courses subjective measures of student satisfaction were evaluated from quiestionnaires made available to all the students. Subjective measures of student preferences toward different re-cording styles were evaluated from written critiques and discussion ses-sions with eight students in the Angiosperms course. The costs of the teaching materials used with the self-paced instructional systems were evaluated by examining the various expenditures. Several conclusions were made from the findings. In the Gymnosperms course it was concluded that: (1) the self—paced instructional setting was as effective in teaching the one weekly experimental unit as was the traditional group-paced instructional setting, (2) the self-paced instructional setting was effective in stimulating high overall class grades, (3) the self-paced teaching format enabled the presentation of more material in less time, (4) the overall majority of the students preferred the self-paced instructional units, and (5) the self-paced in-structional materials were more expensive than those formerly needed with the group-paced instructional method. In the Angiosperms course it was concluded that: (1) the self-paced, taped, fieldtrip instructional unit was effective toward providing high student grades, (2) the overall major-ity of the students were favorable to the self-paced, outdoor instruc-tional unit, (3) the self-paced instructional materials were more expen-sive than those used for group—paced instruction, and (4) students were: more at ease with a tape recorded by the instructor, that continuous music used throughout the tape was distracting, that opening and closing music on the tape was appropriate, that beeps and musical interludes were unnecessary on the tape to signal a move to the next station, that an enthusiastic, varying, conversational tone of voice was the best pre-sentation format, and that a moderately rapid speaking rate was preferred.

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