|Interviews and Focus Groups|
Interviews and focus groups are moderated meetings of 'involved' people. Interviews involve one or two subjects while a focus group refers to a conversation with a group, typically 5-10 students discussing their experience of an educational experience. They add useful tools for finding out what students think about how a course is taught, about the instructor, about the degree of difficulty, etc. A person other than the instructor must conduct this conversation in an environment where students feel comfortable talking about their experiences; the instructor should not be present. The interview may be videotaped or audiotaped for later analysis. Useful link:
Detailed description of interviewing can be found at the FLAG (Field-tested Learning Assessment Guide) website, at the National Institute for Science Education at University of Wisconsin, Madison
Detailed description of focus groups and how they are used can be found at the
Evaluation Cookbook site.
Focus Group Questions: The Center for Teaching Excellence at University of New Hampshire worked with the instructors of ESSE course Earth System Science 895. The group of students was videotaped and responses coded, analyzed, and reported to instructors while maintaining student anonymity.
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