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.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

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Symposium #315
CE Offered: BACB
Behavior Analysis in Higher Education
Sunday, May 29, 2022
3:00 PM–4:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 203
Area: TBA/EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Rebecca Anne Receveur (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology)
Discussant: Anthony Concepcion (University of South Florida)
CE Instructor: Rachel García, Ph.D.

Higher education is a rapidly changing landscape with increasingly diverse students and faculty who are using a wide range of technologies to foster learning (Blankenberger & Williams, 2020). This is especially true as we consider short- and long-term implications from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a field, behavior analysis has the opportunity to drive innovative approaches to improve student academic outcomes and instructor effectiveness leveraging the science of behavior. This symposium addresses a range of topics within higher education, including strategies to recruit a more diverse pool of graduate school applicants, a review of instructional strategies used in online courses, increasing student engagement in online discussion boards, and the development of an assessment tool to improve instructor behavior. Though focused on higher education, there are applications beyond this environment to all those in positions of teaching, mentoring, and supervision. All presentations will discuss implications for practice and areas for future research.

Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): higher education, online learning, online teaching
Target Audience:

Instructors in higher education; Mentors and supervisors of students

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) describe a recruitment strategy for diverse students; (2) identify at least two strategies to improve student learning outcomes; (3) evaluate instructor teaching behaviors
An Evaluation of Video Modules to Train First-Generation Students to Apply to Graduate School
MOLLY PRIMERO DEMAYO (California State University, Stanislaus), Shrinidhi Subramaniam (California State University, Stanislaus)
Abstract: Professional organizations publish and distribute videos, written instructions, and advice columns designed to help students understand how to apply to graduate school. Although they are widely available, it is unclear whether these resources are effective in improving knowledge about the application process, especially for first-generation college students-- those whose parent(s) have not completed a Bachelor’s degree at a 4-year college or university. This study evaluated a computer-based training program consisting of guided worksheets and videos from the American Psychological Association’s (APA) series on preparing and applying to graduate school in psychology. Participants were first-generation college students pursuing an undergraduate degree in Psychology at California State University, Stanislaus. We evaluated the program’s effectiveness using a multiple probe design in which participants completed the same cumulative test before and after modules on identifying compatible graduate programs, writing personal statements, and securing letters of recommendation. We expected scores on module-related items within the cumulative test to increase only after participants completed the relevant modules. If effective at improving knowledge, academic advisors might be confident in recommending APA’s resources to first-generation student advisees.
A Review of Behavior Analytic Instructional Strategies in Online Higher Education
RACHEL GARCÍA (The Chicago School of Professional Psychology), ZOE I HAY (ABA Solutions)
Abstract: Online learning has grown exponentially in recent years, particularly given circumstance associated with the COVID-19 pandemic (Ali, 2020; Kentnor, 2015). However, students report online instruction as being of lower quality than face-to-face learning (Bustamante, 2011). Given the need for online instruction alongside the limitations of the online learning environment, instructors are looking for ways in which to enhance the quality of instruction and optimize student engagement to improve academic outcomes. As such, a systematic review of behavior analytic instructional strategies in online higher education was conducted. Studies were summarized based on student, instructor, and course characteristics, academic outcomes, treatment integrity, social validity, and conclusiveness of evidence. Results indicated behavior analytic instructional strategies in the online environment, such as interteaching, are moderately effective in improving student academic outcomes and student engagement. Few studies evaluated social validity, however those that did identified mixed results. Implications for instructors and areas for future research will be discussed.

Evaluation of Response Modality in Online Discussion Boards

TATIYANNA DUNN (University of South Florida), Anthony Concepcion (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida)

Over the past decade online enrollments have steadily increased year-over-year with current estimates suggesting 35% of all students are enrolled in online courses (NCES, 2020). One challenge in distant learning is fostering student engagement. Student engagement is a broad construct that refers to increasing contact between three pillars of education. Students, teachers, and course material. Past research has shown increasing engagement leads to improved student performance and instructor evaluations. Unsurprisingly, promoting student engagement is desirable for both students and instructors (Cobb, 2009). An online discussion board is a common and well-researched (c.f. Douglas et al., 2020) form of assessment used in online courses. Discussion boards allow student engagement between themselves and Instructors while knowledge can still be tested. Few studies have evaluated the modality of student responses (e.g., text, picture, video) and potential effects on student engagement. The present study evaluated the effects of the structure of discussion boards and further assessed student preference for response modalities.

Development and Testing of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist for Instructors
JESSE DEPAOLO (University of South Florida), Kimberly Crosland (University of South Florida)
Abstract: Behavior analysts have been studying behavior related to academic instruction for decades (Dunlap et al., 2001). Instruction has focused primarily on K-12 teachers with much less emphasis on college level instructors (Baum & McPherson, 2019). Additionally, studies related to improving instruction often lack information related to why a particular intervention was chosen. Creating an assessment tool to assist in determining interventions that would be most effective for improving classroom or virtual instruction could be beneficial. Therefore, the purpose of study one was to develop the Performance Diagnostic Checklist for Instructors (PDC-I) which will help guide supervisors of college instructors into choosing the most effective and efficient type of intervention(s) to improve at least one aspect of their teaching behavior. The purpose of study two was to evaluate the use of the PDC-I with three instructors teaching online courses at the graduate level. Results suggest that the interventions developed based on the results of the PDC-I improved each instructors performance of responding appropriately to student discussion board posts.



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