“What can students’ thoughts during my classes reveal about the factors that most affect their attention to and interest in the material being presented?” was the primary question Sondra Gates asked in her research project from last year’s Reflective Scholars course in the Master Teacher Program.  Sondra’s study received a lot of attention from Kirkwood Community College administrators as it revealed factors that made students feel excited about their learning, what made them bored, what distracted them, and what brought their attention back.

Sondra begins to talk the audience through her poster below at around 6 minutes and 45 seconds into the interview.  For the full transcript of the interview, please click here.

Pie chart is divided into 6 sections: course content, instructor, classmates, classroom environment, technology, and personal concerns

As mentioned in the interview, Sondra followed the requirements as stated in FERPA, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. If anyone is interested in conducting research that involves students and their records, they must pay heed to FERPA as it is required by law. For more information, visit their website at http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html and for more detailed information, go to http://www.naceweb.org/public/ferpa0808.htm


Sondra Gates is an instructor in the English department.  Last year, she completed the Master Teacher Program and this study is evidence of this completion.  If you want to learn more about her study, please contact her at sondra.gates@kirkwood.edu.

KCELT plans to share more of these exciting research projects soon.  If you have an interesting study to share, please contact Jeremy Slagoski, Instructional Designer at KCELT, at jeremy.slagoski@kirkwood.edu.  If you are a faculty member interested in developing a research project here at Kirkwood, please contact Jana Hanson from Institutional Research at jana.hanson@kirkwood.edu.

We have a question for you: Do you know what your students are thinking in class?

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