College of Science

Seminar: Justyna Zwolak [Florida International University]

Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we interact so as not to leave!

Feb 23, 2017 11:00 AM to Feb 23, 2017 12:00 PM at

Society is constantly in flux, which demands the continuous development of our educational system to meet new challenges and impart the appropriate knowledge, skills and critical thinking to students. In order to improve student learning, among other things, the way we are teaching has significantly changed over the past few decades. We are moving away from traditional, lecture-based teaching towards more interactive, engagement-based strategies.

A current, major challenge for universities is to increase student persistence in continuing through a sequence of courses or the major area of study. While postsecondary enrollment has increased significantly over the past few decades, the graduation rates remained at a constant level for most of the past half century. Moreover, almost half of first-time students who leave their initial institution by the end of the first year never come back to college.

Students' academic and social integration into an institution seems to be vital for this issue of student persistence, yet research on the effect of interpersonal interactions is rare. I use network analysis to investigate academic and social experiences of students in the introductory physics courses. In particular, there is a compelling case that transformed physics classes, such as Modeling Instruction (MI), promote persistence by the creation of learning communities that support the integration of students into the university. I will discuss recent results on pattern development in networks of MI students’ interactions throughout the semester (the web they weave), as well as the effect of students' position within the network on their persistence (i.e., not to leave) in physics.

10:50 a.m. Refreshments

11:00 a.m. Seminar

Building 8 - Room 241

For further information, please call (909) 869-4014