Educational Journey

May 13, 2009

More ideas on the dissertation

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 12:20 am

I could examine programs that have been developed to promote the retention of first-year college students. I am thinking specifically of looking first and Western Oregon University. I would also like to compare to some of the foreign college systems. The research that I did in the last course will be a starting point. I’m afraid, I will have to narrow even further though.

May 10, 2009

Beginnings

Filed under: Dissertation Topic Exploration — Cyndy @ 3:53 pm

I begin my exploration of dissertation topics. I have a couple of general ideas that are still very broad. My Writing 7000 class is “giving me an opportunity to explore these ideas.” Following are the first ramblings of my initial thoughts:

#1: I could study how learning styles affect career choices. It is generally assumed that most visual learners go into artistic careers. In my initial testing of design management students, I found that many students are kinesthetic learners. Why? Does this have to do with the liklihood of success in the courses related to the career choice or the career choice itself? For example, a student that is an art history major will have many classes that involve lectures and images. The most succesful students will likely be auditory, visual learners. But will this make good art historians who are predominately involved in research, requiring a different style of learning. Can understanding ones learning style help a person make better career choices? Can colleges gear learning delivery styles that better meet the needs of the careers related to that course?

#2: A study of the motivation required for students to stay in college to completion of their goals. This could go in a couple different directions. First, I wonder what influence grades and/or teaching study habits will do for student motivation. Certainly it seems plausible that if challenges come up and a student does not have confidence in their ability to get through the tough times, they may lose motivation and stop. ┬áMy personal experiences in early education left me without the confidence or study skills to think that I could make it in college. The other angle that I could take with this issue is the need for short-term goals. As I learned in my last class, when students attend college only part-time they tend to drop out. This may be due to the fact that they cannot see the end goal and become discouraged. I certainly would never have gotten this far in college if I looked at a Doctorate degree as my end goal. Instead, I began by taking 5 courses to earn a wage increase. I then worked toward my associate degree, then my bachelor’s and finally my master’s. I took on each challenge individually. Certainly there are students that take on bigger challenges and are able to stay the course. What is different about those students? Could it be that they are not firs-generation students. Maybe they have better family support to achieve those goals. Maybe they just have more confidence?

Both of these topic choices are still very vague and broad. They both need more work, and this class will encourage me to quickly work through these issues.

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