Thursday, November 21, 2019

A collaborative research project led by the University of Iowa recently received a $20,000 grant from Unizin to investigate instructional practices that promote student reading in higher education. The UI, a member of the Unizin consortium, also committed $20,000 to the project.

The funds will cover compensation of research participants and a graduate assistant’s salary.

The study will focus on undergraduate courses that adopted electronic textbooks through the ICON Direct Engage platform in fall 2019 and spring 2020. Instructors who wish to participate in the study will provide information about their courses’ required readings and due dates.

After the semester is over, anonymized students’ clicks on the course readings will be collected and examined to address three primary research questions:

Jane Russell headshot
  1. Do students read more in the course where instructors implement strategies compared to the course with no strategies? 
  2. Among various strategies, which ones are associated with student reading?
  3. Is student use of reading tools (e.g., bookmarks, highlights) associated with their reading?

The results of the study will be used to inform institutional efforts to improve practices that promote student reading and learning.

Participating institutions include the University of Iowa, Indiana University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Colorado State University. Jane Russell (pictured at right), director of Research and Analytics in Iowa’s Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology, is the principal investigator. She anticipates expanding the project to include more institutions in spring 2020.

Additional investigators from Iowa are Alison Bianchi, associate professor, Sociology and Criminology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Brian Lai, associate professor, Political Science, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; Jean Florman, director, Center for Teaching, Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology; and Margaret Chorazy, clinical associate professor, Epidemiology, College of Public Health.

If you have questions about the research, please contact Principal Investigator Jane Russell.