Saturday, February 18, 2017
Exhibit Hall (Hynes Convention Center)
Anna Krieg, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
While knowing student names has been promoted as an inclusive classroom practice, we do not know whether students value having their name known by an instructor, particularly in a large enrollment classes. Calling students by name has been identified as an aspect of instructor immediacy which has been linked to student learning and motivation. However, it is unclear how this aspect of instructor immediacy influences biology undergraduates. We set out to explore this question in the context of a high-enrollment active learning undergraduate biology course. Using surveys and semi-structured interviews, we investigated whether students perceived that instructors know their name, the importance of instructors knowing their name, and how they think an instructor learned their name. We found that 20% of students typically have their name known in a high-enrollment biology class, but 77% of students in this course perceived that an instructor of the course knew their name. Using grounded theory we analyzed student survey responses and identified nine distinct reasons why students feel that knowing their name is important that were reported by more than 5% of the students in the class: student feels valued (30.6%), student feels the instructor cares (26.9%), builds an instructor-student relationship (23.1%), student feels more invested in the course (19.4%), students feels more comfortable getting help (19.4%), builds classroom community (14.2%), student feels more comfortable talking to instructor (11.9%), improves student performance (11.9%), and helps the student obtain a letter of recommendation (6.7%). When we asked students how they thought that instructors learned their names, the most common response was in-class discussion with the instructor as part of active learning. Specifically, students highlighted the use of name cards that they placed on their desks as a way that they perceived instructors learned their names in a high enrollment class. Instructors could say the student’s name when interacting when him or her in class. Interestingly, many students perceived that their name was known, even though instructors did not know their names. This implies that instructors teaching high-enrollment courses may not need to actually know students’ names in order for them to perceive value from the perception that an instructor knows their name. These findings suggest that students perceiving that their name is known seems to be important to students for a variety of reasons and that name cards could be a relatively easy way for students to think that instructors know their name.