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.


41st Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2015

Event Details

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Symposium #376
CE Offered: BACB
Technological Innovations for the Teaching of Behavior Analysis in Colleges
Monday, May 25, 2015
2:00 PM–2:50 PM
206AB (CC)
Area: TBA; Domain: Service Delivery
Chair: Emaley Bladh McCulloch (Relias Learning)
CE Instructor: Dana R. Reinecke, Ph.D.

With the proliferation of new technology, there are more ways to teach behavior analysis than ever before. Technology allows us to reach students who would not otherwise be able to learn about behavior analysis due to geographical or other barriers. Additionally, technology provides inexpensive alternatives that allow students to have meaningful learning experiences that would otherwise be costly in terms of financial and other resources. The presentations in this symposium will discuss some recent innovations in the use of technology to teach behavior analysis at the post-secondary level, to graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of disciplines and at three different college and university settings in the US and in Mexico. Specifically, we will address the use of technology in online education in behavior analysis at the post-college level, a technology-based functional behavior assessment training protocol used to teach about behavior analysis to non-behavior analysis students, and the use of a readily-available hardware and software solution for student participation in operant conditioning laboratory exercises.

Keyword(s): online education, teaching BA, technology
Assessment of the Effectiveness of Virtual Functional Behavior Assessment Training on the Understanding of Functions of Behavior in Graduate Students
DANA R. REINECKE (The Sage Colleges), Cheryl Ostryn (The Sage Colleges)
Abstract: An understanding of the functions of behavior is beneficial in many fields. The availability of technology for virtual training in assessment of the functions of behavior presents unique opportunities to provide training in functions of behavior to students in human services outside of ABA. In the current study, students in a graduate-level dietetic internship program were provided with the opportunity to learn about functions of behavior through an online module, which included videos and guided activities for functional behavior assessment. Pre- and post-tests were presented, which provided case study materials relevant to their field, and asked specific questions to determine if there was a change in the students’ understanding of behavior from a functional assessment perspective. Blind reviewers scored pre- and post-tests on three variables, including descriptions of behavior, antecedents and consequences, and causes of behavior. Comparisons of pre- and post-test scores across these variables indicate modest improvements in use of objective, behavioral terminology to describe relevant behavior, environmental events, and possible functions of behavior.
Inexpensive Setup Based on Arduino and Visual Basic for Laboratory Courses on Operant Conditioning
ROGELIO ESCOBAR (National Autonomous University of Mexico), Carlos Alexis Perez Herrera (National Autonomous University of Mexico)
Abstract: Because of the increasing popularity of microcontroller boards, interfaces for controlling operant conditioning chambers can be built at low cost with barely any knowledge of electronics. One example is the Arduino board that can be programmed and controlled through one USB port of a laptop or netbook computer. These boards were used in combination with Visual Basic 2010 Express Edition programming for providing users with a “friendly” graphic interface in operant laboratories. Additionally, Visual Basic programs allowed storage and visual display of real-time data in digital counters and cumulative records. This Arduino-Visual Basic interface was used in two laboratory courses in the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Low-cost operant conditioning chambers were built and students connected the interface and uploaded the programs to the computers in the classroom. During the courses, the students conducted basic schedules of reinforcement using rats as subjects. The cost of each interface and experimental chamber was less than 60 dollars. This presentation will provide detailed instructions for setting up the equipment and will describe how the equipment was used. The portable setup developed for laboratory courses could be used without previous knowledge in electronics and in places where resources are an issue.
A Comparison of Two Reading Assignments on Quiz Performance by Online Students
CHERYL J. DAVIS (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College), Thomas L. Zane (Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College)
Abstract: Online instruction continues to increase in popularity. However, just as in traditional classroom instruction, online education can be done well or be done poorly. The research literature on online instruction is fraught with problems that make establishment of learning principles for how to teach effectively online highly skeptical. This research base consistently lacks the application of a natural science methodology, such as the use of established research designs, operational definitions of key terms, and quantifiable and reliable measurement. What is needed in this field of online instruction, is well-developed research studies that experimentally test different factors that may (or may not) contribute to effective online instruction. The purpose of this study was to compare the influence of two different types of online assignments on weekly quiz scores in classes that were exclusively online. The dependent variable was the score on weekly quizzes. The independent variable was either written responses to study questions that targeted specific points for that week’s reading material, or a simple summary of the readings for that week. We used an alternating treatments design over 4 sections of graduate-level classes in applied behavior analysis. Results showed that study questions resulted in higher quiz scores than the reading summaries. Although students reported more time spent each week completing the study questions than reading summaries, they preferred the study questions, as those gave them a better “understanding” of the material.



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