ERIC Number: EJ1032903
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
"Writing Wasn't Really Stressed, Accurate Historical Analysis Was Stressed": Student Perceptions of In-Class Writing in the Inverted, General Education, University History Survey Course
Murphree, Daniel S.
History Teacher, v47 n2 p209-219 Feb 2014
Taking introductory history courses and writing analytical essays are not the favorite activities of most first-year university students. Undergraduates, seemingly, would rather enroll in classes that pertain only to their majors or job-preparation regimen. If forced to take General Education Program (GEP) courses, students typically favor those with fewer required assignments, especially in terms of writing. To many first- or second-year undergraduates, English/Writing and Rhetoric courses are onerous enough--why would anyone willingly take classes in a different field that call for additional formal writing? Consequently, an introductory History course that requires more writing assignments than other GEP courses is an option few students will select. Or will they? Though many instructors at the university level believe the above to be true (and have much anecdotal evidence to substantiate these claims), are such student attitudes the unchangeable norm? Do undergraduates not value writing exercises in courses outside of English/ Writing and Rhetoric courses? Do they see writing only as an end product and not as a way to learn content itself? Is there a way to help students understand the value of a History GEP course that utilizes extensive writing assignments on a consistent basis? How can instructors address these issues and promote different student perspectives on History GEP courses that are writing intensive? This article attempts to provide answers by examining the synthesis of Writing across Curriculum (WaC) and Inverted Classroom (also known as Flipped Classroom) techniques in two History GEP sections I taught at the University of Central Florida during Spring semester 2013. Both sections required extensive writing assignments in various forms as a means of learning History content. Both sections also revealed interesting student perspectives on university instruction and its applications. The data used to evaluate the effectiveness of WaC-Inverted techniques in these courses comes primarily from an IrB-approved student survey administered at the conclusion of the semester. rather than advocate or discourage instructor utilization of the strategies used in these classes, the purpose of this study is to evaluate student understandings of History GEP courses, as well as student attitudes toward formal writing in such courses, to better determine instructor-student disconnects regarding course assignments and learning objectives. readers may draw multiple conclusions from the information provided, but all should benefit from a close examination of the techniques implemented and of how students perceived both the strategies and the results.
Descriptors: History Instruction, Introductory Courses, Higher Education, Undergraduate Students, College Faculty, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, Writing Assignments, Blended Learning, Teaching Methods
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site: http://www.societyforhistoryeducation.org/
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida