Proposal Title

Maximizing Choice in Writing an Application Term Paper in a First Year Course: Student Voices and Views

Proposal Abstract

What happens when students in a first year course are given considerable choice in several dimensions (e.g. subject for the paper, content focus, length, and attendance at a library work session) of application term paper assignment? My goal in incorporating plenty of choice in the assignment was to encourage students to learn meaningfully; the first time I used the assignment I conducted a study in order to gather evidence about its effectiveness. In one section of the application paper, students discussed what they learned about coping, the major course concept. The following semester, in small focus group discussions, eight participants reported that having so much choice in an assignment was a new experience for them and that it positively affected their interest, the effort they expended, and the meaningfulness of their learning. They also made it clear that balancing structure and choice was important for their learning in this assignment. The results of this small study support the claim made by self-determination theorists that choice supports development of autonomous motivation .

Location

Atrium/Concourse

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:45 PM

Maximizing Choice in Writing an Application Term Paper in a First Year Course: Student Voices and Views

Atrium/Concourse

What happens when students in a first year course are given considerable choice in several dimensions (e.g. subject for the paper, content focus, length, and attendance at a library work session) of application term paper assignment? My goal in incorporating plenty of choice in the assignment was to encourage students to learn meaningfully; the first time I used the assignment I conducted a study in order to gather evidence about its effectiveness. In one section of the application paper, students discussed what they learned about coping, the major course concept. The following semester, in small focus group discussions, eight participants reported that having so much choice in an assignment was a new experience for them and that it positively affected their interest, the effort they expended, and the meaningfulness of their learning. They also made it clear that balancing structure and choice was important for their learning in this assignment. The results of this small study support the claim made by self-determination theorists that choice supports development of autonomous motivation .