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LOQ Case Study 1

Mindy Colin
Instructional Technology Analyst
College of Business Administration
Loyola Marymount University

At the beginning of the Fall 2004 semester, students took the Learning Orientation Questionnaire (LOQ), a 25-item online survey that identifies an individualís orientation to learn. The students were a fairly typical set of university students (most of them were performing or conforming – with one resistant student who actually (with encouragement) turned out to be one of the best students in the class). From previous experience, the professor realized that she was really teaching her course too much at the “intuitive” level and that her students were not comprehending or doing well on her big-picture, complex, project-level assignments. We decided that she should cater a bit more to the “performing” students and see if she could encourage them to think a bit more out-of-the-box. She wanted them not to be so anxious or concerned about what would give them a good grade on the assignment. To help, she gave them some examples of acceptable project outcomes from previous semesters and made a rubric that gave them an idea of what she was looking for and grading in their projects. Here is a short description regarding the implementation of the professor's teaching strategies (aligned with the learning orientation results):

  • "Last term, with the last homework assignment, I definitely saw an improvement in the students’ ability to apply the material to real life situations, (in our case, products available in the marketplace today), and to think more critically about the principles.  While the better students (transforming and performing) continued their good performance, the difference was in the mid-performance range students. More of them really 'got it'.  The quality of their work was much better.  A few of the more marginal students (conforming) showed some improvement, but a number of them continued with their poor performance.  For them, I think it is more of an attitude and effort issue, not ability, as this was not the only problem with a couple of them."
  • "While the final homework assignment was more difficult and a bit more complex, I sensed there was less anxiety about it.  It was an assignment very different from what they had done in the past, yet I got very few questions.  They had nearly three weeks to complete the assignment, which was not unusual, but also indicated they had plenty of time to come to me with their questions, which they had done in the past."

  • "The difference I made in writing the assignment was that I was much more explicit in my expectations, to a point.  The result was that they did good work.  I am very explicit because the students are so task-focused. They can miss the big picture and not truly understand the concepts and how to apply the concepts.  I think they are missing the application of more critical thinking skills, and are not understanding when to apply something, and just as important, when not to apply something.  The students’ problem-solving skills and abilities to discern what is important and what is not important are not as developed as I would like them to be." 

During the Spring 2005 term, the professor made a number of changes in describing the team case analysis assignment (a significant project for them) to a new group of students.  Again, the professor was more prescriptive about expectations.  She set up an interim deliverable to have students meet with her to confirm their understanding about real case problems before they put their presentation and paper together.  The professor provided students with an example of a case presentation and was more specific about the format of the paper.  She provided a 30-minute class discussion to describe how to do a case analysis. She also provided an actual case analysis presentation using Blackboard.  As a result, the professor observed that more teams seemed to be getting an earlier start on their projects and that they were actually meeting to confirm their understanding of the problem earlier than scheduled. 

Provided by the author, here are strategies that are useful for project-based courses (organized by learning orientations).  The professor used similar strategies to help keep student anxiety low, attitudes positive, teams functioning well, and students continually progressing and achieving.

 

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Copyright © Margaret Martinez 1996-2005
Updated June 2005 by Margaret Martinez.
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