This paper describes a methodological approach for designing and preparing case study research on a faculty development program based on the additive innovation cycle. The program was implemented as part of a National Science Foundation-funded “Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments” research project. The enacted intervention focused on promoting the sharing, scaling, and sustainability of pedagogical risk-taking within an engineering curriculum for 15 faculty participants with teaching-focused appointments (i.e., not tenured or tenure-track faculty), and between 0-13 years of teaching experience. Faculty professional development activities were organized around the four stages of the additive innovation cycle: (1) becoming inspired by the local community and instructor peers, (2) sharing and learning about pedagogical ideas and artifacts, (3) iterating on one’s own pedagogical ideas and artifacts, and (4) sharing their pedagogical innovations back to the community. Each faculty member was interviewed three times throughout the program, and each interview lasted approximately one hour. Interviews were reflective in nature, inquiring about participants’ mindsets and interests in pedagogical risk-taking across the professional development activities. Interviews were supplemented by longitudinal surveys to assess changes in pedagogical risk-taking preferences and behaviors and video recordings in which participants described the innovation that they developed and implemented over the course of their participation in the program. The overarching research question for this study was: How are instructors in an undergraduate engineering program impacted (positively and negatively) by participation in an additive innovation cycle focused on pedagogy?
In this paper, we discuss methods and progress towards formally defining case studies and iteratively building a logic model to capture the outcomes of faculty participation in the additive innovation cycle. We describe the set of decisions made throughout the analysis planning stage to identify patterns of behavior among cases: why decisions were made, how they were implemented, and to what ends. For example, a decision was made to create a “profile” for each participant based on their interview, survey and video reflection data that summarized how they changed as a result of participation in the program. Particular attention was paid to changes in their self-described pedagogical risk-taking behaviors and teaching philosophy. The work to build cases will be described, and additional examples will be shared.
This work is intended to serve as an example for engineering education researchers of how a case study method approach can be used to study complex phenomena with multiple variables of interest (in this case, the process of using professional development to initiate a faculty change initiative). The paper will also share how a case study research design can benefit from application of a theoretical framework (e.g., the additive innovation cycle) and from the collection of multiple sources of qualitative and quantitative evidence (i.e., interviews, survey and artifacts) to help triangulate findings.
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