Within ENG101, last fall in the 2016 semester (traditional 16 week Face-to-Face class met on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.), the instructor incorporated the Weekly Wellness SMART Goal Tracking System into her curriculum. After Lyle’s delivery of the initial orientation to ENG101 students, the instructor invited her entire class to participate in the Weekly Wellness. Nevertheless, interestingly enough, as time progressed, the class naturally broke into the two groups: participants vs. non-participants. The result was remarkably striking: the participant group mostly earned ‘A’s (i.e., 6 ’A’s; 2 ‘B’s; and 1 ‘C’), as opposed to that of the non-participant group. The non-participant group mostly earned ‘B’s (i.e., 2 ‘A’s; 7 ‘B’s; 5 ‘C’s; and 1 ‘F’).
Inhye, interesting results. How did you measure if they were participants or not? Do you think that the participants earned better grades beause they engaged in healthier activities (due to the lessons), or that "go-getters" were just more likely to participate as well as earn high grades, or is it hard to tell? Also, do you have any improvement plans based on this base line data you collected? I think that will really complete the full cycle ("close the loop").
As you may already know, I used the weekly tracking system (Excel) provided by Lyle B. Then, instead of having them self-track on their own for the block of time (the whole semester), I broke it down into "quick and easy" weekly assessments and embedded into Canvas to help them establish a doable and practical habit/routine. So, yes, you read my mind because I was asking the exact same set of questions to myself that you posted above: to ensure the participants were truly participating, I encouraged them to submit one paragraph, summarizing their weekly activities, which was talking back to the tracking system/ category. My intent behind was that this added reflectional writing would enforce the participants to better internalize and truly own this as "their" process. This helped me as well, because the participants (slowly but surely) were able to "feel" that there was/is a positive relationship between what they were doing (holistic wellness activities) and their academic improvement.
Yes, I do have improvement plans: I personally would like to have more data points. For example, I would like to add Independent Sample T-test to prove this is statistically significant, the time spent, the level/degree of student interaction (using both Canvas' embedded tracking features and focus group techniques), and lastly, resources/ strategies that they used to sustain and forge this new healthier wellness habits.
P.S. I'm invited to present this representing EMCC's adjunct at a national conference, this March.
I am looking forward to seeing what my results are for this. I am implementing this in both my classes this semester. THanks for submitting a CATS on this.
I would be very interested in knowing your results, as well. Sure! Thanks for your enthusiastic support.
Inhye, I enjoyed reading about your inclusion of Wellness in your class. I also incorporated it last semester with one of my classes. The student feedback was quite positive. Do you think that the wellness impacted the grades or do you think it was self selection? Do you think a required wellness for all students may have different results? Thank you for sharing! Smiles, Olga
Thanks, Olga. Great. Yes, I do think that the WW (Weekly Wellness) impacted their grades. From the instructor's perspective, ironically, those who earned 'A's are not necessarily the best writers in the class; instead, they were the ones that were having “frequent one on one interactions” with the instructor, “openly and honestly”. This goes back to my doctoral research findings: that is to say, there is a relationship between effort regulation (e.g., demonstrated study behaviors and habits) and cc student’s academic success. Therefore, the participants chose to come back on track instead of giving up – because at one point, everybody stopped participating -- the instructor was there coaching all of them very closely, and kept on reminding them every Monday. Frankly speaking, at times, a few of them did not submit an assignment, yet interestingly enough, provided me with their tracking and one summary paragraph, which I thought was fascinating. I suspect they finally reached the point where the wellness tracking came natural and became part of who they were; therefore, it felt effortless to them.
Yes, I do think it would've led to more negative results. Students do not like to be told what to do. This is precisely why I decided to make it Extra Credit, not mandatory.
Great potential with this, Inhye! I like your initiative in incorporating this into your class, and certainly the results are impressive. I could see this becoming a doctoral pursuit to peel more layers off to get to the core of why the results happened. Well done!
Great idea Inhye and Lyle! I think the potential link between Weekly Wellness and academic performance could be very powerful if we can demonstrate this on a larger scale and control for hidden variables. I agree with the other comments that the self-selection bias could be a challenge. Students who volunteer may be different (e.g., more motivated, have fewer time commitments, etc.) compared to non-participants. To address the extraneous variables in the future you might want to survey students who participated versus those who did not. You could use a few self-efficacy questions, number of hours worked, full-time vs. par time, etc. to see if there students were appreciably different based participation status. The other option would be to teach two English 101 classes that offered at a similar time. In one section you could include the Weekly Wellness activity and in the other sections exclude any promotion or activities related to Weekly Wellness. You could then compare student performance in both sections. I hope more faculty get inspired by your CATS and create their own studies related to fitness and student academic performance.
Thanks. I plan to conduct the survey with the students. I'm open to your suggestion. However, I think there will still be too many variables to produce clean data. For example, from this particular participant pool, I have an African American single dad working full-time who was able to stay on track as well as a 17-year-old white female who wasn't working at all. What I know is that the instructor had the close relationships with both of them.
Inhye, thanks for sharing. I use the wellness SMART goals in my ENG 102 class. Your approaches have given me some good ideas.
Thanks, Dr. Cardenas-Adame, for your generous comments. I'm so pleased to hear that.
This is great example how good wellness habits can improve our cognitive abilities. Great work!
Thanks, Catherine! I do see huge possibilities of collaborations between CPD and ENG in the future. Every semester,one or more students of minepoint that out. I value student feedback and welcome their inputs for more inclusive learning design.
I incorporated this into my CPD 150 course last semester. Your overview and summary gave me some great ideas to improve participation and get more concrete results for my future classes. Thanks! Dori Lynch
Thanks, Dori, for recognizing! I received invaluable benefits from practicing Wellness while going through my doctoral program, so I think my student could tell that I was talking to them from my own (survival) experience.
Thanks for sharing, Inhye. I look forward to hearing more about your March presentation.
Thanks, Annie, for the division level support. Yes, I'm excited to spin the wheel (my presentation) little bit this March, improved since the last year's.