Engaging Students in the Development of an Atmospheric Science Course: A Discourse Analysis
Asian Journal of Education and Social Studies,
Aims: With increasing emphasis on learners-centered approach in teaching and learning, engaging students in course development and refinement is crucial. This study aims to foster a participatory approach in course development by engaging students in meaningful discourse at the early stage of an atmospheric science course.
Study design: This is a qualitative study which employed the grounded theory for data analysis.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was conducted in March 2021 in an international higher learning institution located in the Guangdong Province of China.
Methodology: This qualitative study invited a year 3 cohort of environmental science students taking an atmospheric science and pollution course in an international higher learning institution in China to participate in a meaningful discourse about the course in week 2 of the semester. Their responses were transcribed and the transcripts analyzed with NVIVO based on the grounded theory. The transcripts were coded, the themes were drawn and the relationship was probed.
Results: This study identified three overarching themes from the codes, namely assessment, course contents and learning activities, whose codes covered 4.5%, 17.8% and 23.1% of the text respectively. Codes for assessment comprise practical assignment and multiple-choice question, while those for course contents include black carbon, modelling, greenhouse gases, zero-carbon, and removal of Freon. Codes for learning activities include case studies, debate, field trips and quizzes. The words most frequently appeared in the transcripts are learning and field. The findings reflect expectations for interactive learning, simulation-based learning, authentic assignments and activities, experiential learning via field trips and problem-based learning. These are in line with the established pedagogies for environmental science.
Conclusion: This study shifts the paradigm of students’ engagement in the increasingly learner-centered educational setting where students are proactively involved in course development in the early stage of teaching and learning instead of reactively involved through feedback collection at advanced stages.
- grounded theory
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