Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


44th Annual Convention; San Diego, CA; 2018

Event Details

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Symposium #71
The Use of Technology in Conducting Quality Research in a Distance Format
Saturday, May 26, 2018
12:00 PM–12:50 PM
Manchester Grand Hyatt, Harbor Ballroom C
Area: TBA/AUT; Domain: Translational
Chair: Dana R. Reinecke (Long Island University Post)

Technology is at the forefront of society, including education and research. With almost 100 schools that provide the Behavior Analyst Certification Board course sequence entirely online (BACB, 2017), it is imperative that behavior analysts, educators, and supervisors provide high quality services in the distance format that are comparable to those services provided in person. Many individuals who attend online schools do so for convenience, but there is a question of whether the convenience of online schooling prohibits access to opportunities that might otherwise be afforded in-person, such as research opportunities, interactions and support systems, and development of rapport with peers and professors. Three studies were conducted that either evaluated or utilized some distance aspect. Study one evaluated the effects of a question-present and a question-absent teaching condition on the acquisition of spontaneous mands, with both researchers living in different states. Study two evaluated the effects of student facilitators on discussion forum posting in an online setting. Study three evaluated differences in behavioral resurgence with DRA and DRO utilizing an online lab setting. A discussion of the CABALAB activities and student-professor directed research in the online format will be provided.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Autism, Distance, Online
Mand Acquisition Across Different Teaching Methodologies
(Service Delivery)
SARAH RUSSELL (ASPIRE LLC), Dana R. Reinecke (Long Island University Post)
Abstract: Many children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) lack verbal, functional communication, where manding frequently comes under the control of some supplemental stimulus, reducing the likelihood of spontaneity developing. Bowen, Shillingsburg, and Carr (2012) evaluated the impact of the question “What do you want?” on the acquisition of mands, in comparison to a question-absent training condition. Using an alternating treatments design, the researchers compared rates of acquisition of novel mand responses under the two conditions, and found that there was no significant difference in the acquisition of mands (Bowen et al., 2012). While the two methods have benefits and drawbacks for the acquisition of mands, there have been few empirical studies to directly and experimentally evaluate the differences in rates of spontaneous mand acquisition between the two. The current study sought to replicate the Bowen et al. (2012) study by evaluating whether spontaneous mands (requests for items) would be acquired faster under a question present or a question absent teaching condition. Results showed that one student learned more rapidly under question absent, where the other learned more rapidly under question present.

The Effects of the Student Facilitator Role on Quality, Quantity, Content and Test Scores

(Service Delivery)
Sam Blanco (Endicott College), CHERYL J. DAVIS (7 Dimensions Consulting; SupervisorABA)

It is common in asynchronous college courses for instructors to require students to participate in online discussion forums. However, there is little empirical research indicating the best forum formats in relation to post quality and learning outcomes. Picciano (2002) implemented a system that utilized student facilitators to improve the quality of online discussion forums in asynchronous online courses. While Picciano focused on community building, the present empirical study compared the use of the student facilitators role as opposed to professor directed forums to measure quality of forum posts, generalization across weeks, and learning outcomes. The following study was an indirect replication of Piccianos student facilitator research with 45 masters-level students in an asynchronous online course. The preliminary results indicate that quality of posts increased during and after students role as a facilitator. These results also indicate that the facilitator role did not have a significant relationship with performance on weekly quizzes. Limitations of the study included a small sample size, defining objective measures of post quality, as well as extraneous variables that may have affected learning outcomes. Results suggest that the facilitator role increased responding, quality of posts, during the assigned weeks and in some participants, in future weeks; but did not have significant relationship with learning outcomes.

The Use of an Online Laboratory (CABALAB) to Conduct Applied Research
(Service Delivery)
BENJAMIN C. MAURO (The Sage Colleges, Center for Applied Behavior Analysis)
Abstract: The current presentation provides a five-year update on the research happenings within the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis Laboratory. The research undertakings of the CabaLab are performed largely online, except for the students interacting with research participants within the experimental setting. It will focus upon three developing lines of research: (1) the mediating of behavioral momentum by Pavlovian processes, (2) differences in behavioral resurgence with DRA and DRO, and (3) using a compound preference index to predict reinforcer effectiveness. This presentation also highlights the student-faculty relation that supports the three aims of the CabaLab: (1) train students in conducting publishable-quality ABA research, (2) prepare students for careers in ABA therapy and research, and (3) advance applied research on the understanding and treatment of the behavioral features of Autism Spectrum Disorders. These innovations provide a degree of student mentorship that rivals conventional face-to-face delivery of graduate education for behavior analysts, although there are pitfalls to coordinating a virtual laboratory for the applied study of behavior.



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