Please update your browser

You're using a version of Internet Explorer that isn't supported by Questia.
To get a better experience, go to one of these sites and get the latest
version of your preferred browser:

Assessing the Impact of Engaged Learning Initiatives for First-Year Students

By Staub, Shalom D.; Finley, Ashley P. | Peer Review, Summer 2007 | Go to article overview

Assessing the Impact of Engaged Learning Initiatives for First-Year Students


Staub, Shalom D., Finley, Ashley P., Peer Review


As a demonstration site supported by the Bringing Theory to Practice project, Dickinson College has, for the past two years, implemented an ambitious engaged-learning initiative for first-year students with an accompanying research project to assess what impact these experiences have had on student engagement, well-being, alcohol use, and civic engagement.

All first-year students at Dickinson take a first-year seminar in their first semester. This program, taught by faculty from every department, is designed to engage students in a seminar-style course on varied subjects. Incoming students identify their six top choices for seminar topics and are assigned to one of these choices. No matter the topic, all seminars emphasize writing, information literacy, and research skills. The faculty member, in contact with these students two or three times per week for the first semester, also serves as the students' academic advisor and remains in this role until the student declares a major.

Four years ago, Dickinson began to experiment with building a learning-community program by linking first-year seminars that share a common theme, housing students in these seminars in a common residential hall, and developing out-of-the-classroom educational experiences for this larger group of students at the intersecting points of the two seminars. Faculty met with students in their residence halls over dinners, shared weekend-long experiential education programs, and incorporated other campus-based and off-campus learning opportunities into the overall learning-community experience. We were interested to see if we could confound the students' binary thinking about where learning happens and what constitutes social experience by introducing learning and stimulating social interaction among students and faculty across the boundaries of classroom, dorm life, and campus experience.

A Closer Look with BTtoP

Working with Bringing Theory to Practice became a vehicle for rigorous assessment. We wanted to explicitly study the effects of student participation in our first-year engaged-learning initiatives to examine whether variously structured learning experiences would yield different impacts on student learning and engagement, mental health, alcohol use, and civic engagement over the short and long term.

Our first question was whether students participating in the learning-community programs yielded any difference compared to those enrolled in stand-alone first-year seminars. Our second question was whether variations in the learning-community model-whether principally classroom based or incorporating service-learning pedagogy or experiential learning, and even a noncredit, community-service-focused residential clustering not linked to the seminar-yielded different results.

In terms of the engaged-learning initiatives during the first year of the project, we had eleven faculty members and approximately 160 students participating in five seminarbased learning communities, and an additional 22 students in the noncredit community-service learning community. (The first year of our project involved a sample of 153 learning-community students and 419 students not in the learning communities. Of students in learning communities, 52 percent were in the classroom-based track, 20 percent in the experiential track, 14 percent in the service-learning track, and 14 percent in the noncredit community track.) Collectively, these students participated in more than forty-five separate out-of-class informal learning experiences, including dinner discussions, film viewings, guest speakers, field trips, service-learning, outdoor physical activities such as caving and rock climbing linked to course content, and community service.

Our evaluation agenda involved both quantitative and qualitative data collection, and supplementary data from institutional sources. To collect baseline, midyear, and end-of-year quantitative data, we administered three surveys during the year.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Assessing the Impact of Engaged Learning Initiatives for First-Year Students
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.