Erin Conlin (Department of History) and Stephan Schaffrath (Department
of Developmental Studies) presented on their experience with linking courses at
IUP at the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Developmental
Educators in York, Pennsylvania, in April 2018. They shared their
research data and experience on linking one section of HIST 196 (Explorations
in US History) with one section of DVST 070 (Reading Skills for College Study)
in fall semester of 2017.
Even though their collected data of this pilot study resulted
in no significant statistical difference between experimental and control
groups on several measures (GPAs, course grades, metacognitive measures, and
Accuplacer pre- and post-test scores), Conlin and Schaffrath believe that
additional research with more subjects and improved instructional as well as
support methods could render a clearer picture on how linked courses and
learning communities may affect IUP first-year students’ performances and how
this will influence these students’ retention and eventual graduation rates.
Furthermore, Conlin and Schaffrath found that cross-departmental learning
community projects like this can help faculty improve their own educational
competencies and teaching methods.
This research is part of Stephan Schaffrath’s Campus
Innovation Project for the Kellogg Institute of the National Center for
Developmental Education at Appalachian State University.