Policies & Practices Study

Macomb Community College campus photo

Collaborative researchers and partner institutions are examining how instructors can enhance teaching practices designed to improve students’ ability to manage their responsibilities as learners in online foundational STEM courses.

Using interviews, focus groups, and a student survey, Collaborative researchers are investigating how faculty and students define and understand self-directed learning skills and how they use technology to improve learning in online foundational STEM courses. In addition, researchers are exploring institutions’ strategic priorities and initiatives related to online learning and strengthening students’ self-directed learning skills, including professional learning resources available to faculty. Researchers will identify how institutions can leverage equity initiatives to reduce opportunity gaps and improve equitable student outcomes in online foundational STEM courses.

In 2023, the Collaborative will release two papers that discuss the instructional issues partner colleges and universities grappled with as they navigated the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and planned for a future in which online learning remains prominent. These papers highlight examples of how institutions and faculty are using instructional strategies and supports to help students develop self-directed learning skills. Next, Collaborative researchers will identify barriers to scaling and institutionalizing those instructional strategies and supports in online foundational STEM courses. This study will provide foundational knowledge to aid the Collaborative’s development of an instructional model and related toolkit.