Tag Archives: higher ed

Thanks @Northcentral! Goal Accomplished!

It’s been a few months since I last posted a blog entry.  The end of the semester brought a flurry of deadlines.  I participated in the online ACS ConfChem where a paper about Flipping at an Open-Enrollment College was presented (more on this in upcoming blogs).  More importantly, I ran my statistics on the data from my dissertation study.  Over the summer months I revised the dissertation, and yesterday I defended and earned the title of Dr. Butzler!

When I began my journey towards a doctoral degree, I researched a variety of institutions.  I was looking for a degree in education with an emphasis in e-learning or online learning.  Most importantly, I needed a degree plan that was flexible and convenient and ONLINE.  Surprisingly there were few institutions that offered such a degree.  I found Northcentral University located physically in Arizona.  I was apprehensive, but as I dug deeper into the degree structure, I knew that this would be a good fit with my busy schedule.

I started in April of 2011 taking courses in 12 week intervals.  I could overlap courses; start a second at about week 4 of the prior course.  I could end early and pick up more classes.  A year and a half of course work was followed by comprehensive exams.  Then came the dissertation courses.  Although frustrating at times, this experience was PERFECT for my busy life… full time job and 4 kids!  I applaud Northcentral for designing and offering degrees that are tailored for adults like me.  I learned so much and as a result, I am a better educator and researcher.  And writer!

Online learning is not for everyone.  A doctoral degree is not for everyone.  You need to be self-disciplined and a self-directed learner.  Above all else, you need to be humble.  The mentors, chairs, and committee members know more than you.  Take their advice and learn from it.  Thank you Northcentral!  My goal of obtaining a doctoral degree has been accomplished!

Success factors in the #Flipclass: #Grit and #Motivation

The semester is winding down and I am becoming a bit reflective.  I will post a final “semester of flipping” reflection in the weeks to come, but thought I would reflect on this last week in terms of student grit.

The end of the the semester reveals a student’s personality.  How does a student handle stress?  How does a student deal with life weaving into schoolwork?  And most importantly, how does a student communicate (verbally and using body language) with the instructor and their peers?  This week revealed several interesting observations.

The students who have been most successful in the flipped classroom are appear more calm, communicate well, and overall have a great attitude–they are still smiling.  Those who have been less successful are skipping class, appear angry in class, and are not completing the assignments or taking shortcuts when completing them.  

What does this all mean?  Well, I have indicated in previous posts that level of motivation seems to effect success and satisfaction in the flipped classroom.  I believe that is true as those who are intrinsically motivated (self-regulated learners, learn for the sake of learning) versus extrinsically motivated (not as self-regulated and learn for a grade), are performing better.  But, there is more to this:  the Grit Factor.

Grit research is fascinating and I wish I would have come across this prior to designing my dissertation study. Grit really encompasses many theories:  self-determination theory, goal-orientation theory, learning strategy theory, etc.

Grit is simply “perseverance and passion for long-term goals” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, and Kelly).  “Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.  The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that is it time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course” (p. 1087-1088).

After Thanksgiving break, I plan on asking students to view the Angela Duckworth TED talk and reflect on how they plan on to approach final exams and their upcoming semesters. Success in the flipped classroom or even college is not about intelligence.  It’s about the amount of grit in a student.