Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


32nd Annual Convention; Atlanta, GA; 2006

Event Details

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Symposium #20
International Symposium - CAPSIzing Higher Education: PSI on the Internet in Canada and the United States
Saturday, May 27, 2006
1:00 PM–2:20 PM
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Robert W. Allan (Lafayette College)
Abstract: The computer-aided personalized system of instruction (CAPSI) is based on Keller’s PSI program of learning. The use of small units of study, generative short essay-type answer to guided study questions, in-class peer reviewing, mentoring, and self-paced study are hallmarks of a rich PSI program. Previous research has indicated that despite criticisms about the text-based aspect of PSI, that higher order thinking can be achieved using CAPSI. Recent advances in programming and availability through the internet have made CAPSI available to a wider audience of educators. This symposium will address student and instructor behavioral changes in terms of positive and negative reinforcement, feedback, and other principles and procedures. In general, it is suggested that by using behavioral principles judiciously in adopting CAPSI that students at all levels can and will engage in appropriate behavior, including that which we term “higher order thinking”, self-pacing, and other student engagement activities that are related to better learning outcomes. Also, the mastery-based generative answers in CAPSI seem to lead to better performance when compared with a multiple choice format. Finally, student feedback on the CAPSI teaching method will be discussed by several presenters, and the lessons learned from introducing this program into a novel environment.
Critical Thinking Development in a CAPSI Taught First Year University Course.
LOUIS SVENNINGSEN (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: CAPSI (Computer Assisted personalized System of Instruction) is a learning method that helps develop student’s critical thinking through a first year Introduction to University distance education designed course. This approach moves the responsibilities and activities to the student with the instructor being a facilitator of knowledge development; exploring with students, difficult concepts, or concerns throughout the course. A unique aspect of this design is that students peer review test answers of fellow students, make critical comments on other students’ answers, and decide whether to issue a pass or re-study. As a result, students develop greater involvement in the course material, involvement with the instructor, and fellow students. To assess changes in critical thinking the CAPSI course delivery has been compared to an in-class, lecture style delivery of the same Introduction to University course. To help gauge differences in critical thinking between the two styles of delivery a pre and post critical thinking assessment has been done with the students. The results of these assessments and a discussion of the course design will be discussed.
Using WebCAPSI to Teach Graduate Courses.
JOSEPH J. PEAR (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: WebCAPSI was used as one component of the teaching method in three graduate courses: statistical regression, history and systems of psychology, and verbal behavior. Other course components included working in groups to solve problems or present reports, class discussions, and brief lectures. As might be expected, graduate students wrote more extensive essay answers and gave richer feedback and more resudies than undergraduate students tend to do. The graduate students also rated WebCAPSI highly on a course evaluation. Description of the teaching method, course evaluation data, and examples of students answers' and peer feedback given by students are presented. Recommendations for using the system effectively with graduate students, and pitfalls to avoid, are discussed.
Lessons Learned: Introducing CAPSI in Psychology Courses at Delta State University.
DARLENE E. CRONE-TODD (Delta State University), Jessica M. Honeycutt (Delta State University), Heidi L. Eyre (Delta State University), Joseph J. Pear (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: During Spring 2005, CAPSI became available for the first time through the internet. CAPSI was adopted for use in two upper-level psychology courses at Delta State University: a sophomore-level research methods course and a senior-level applied behavior analysis course. Using small units of study and peer review in a mastery-based system, students provide short answer essay-type responses to randomly selected unit test questions. Initial reaction to the program was positive; however, as the term progressed, student interest appeared to decrease as the number of restudies increased. This presentation will discuss behaviourally-based teaching strategies for increasing student writing, including feedback, bonus points for unit test completion, and other strategies currently employed in the firth author’s other undergraduate courses. Students' responses to questions about CAPSI, their overall persistence in the system, development of academically-appropriate textual responses, higher order thinking, and adoption of alternative assessment of mastery criteria will be discussed in terms of student success and ongoing research using CAPSI at Delta State.
Student Response Rate and Persistence in a CAPSI-taught Developmental Psychology Course.
HEIDI L. EYRE (Delta State University), Heather Muller Peacock (Delta State University), Darlene E. Crone-Todd (Delta State University), Jennifer L. Klein (New England Center for Children), Joseph J. Pear (University of Manitoba)
Abstract: Two sections of Developmental Psychology are compared in terms of student response rate and persistence in mastering tests. Both sections were seminar-formatted and used the same course manual that consisted of small units of material with study questions that formed the pool of questions for the short-answer exams. One section was taught using CAPSI, meaning that students completed self-paced, mastery-based, short-answer unit tests and had the opportunity to peer review other students’ unit tests. The second section used WebCT and took instructor-paced multiple-choice unit tests that were marked by the computer (students were allowed three attempts and their highest score was recorded). Results indicated that students enrolled in the CAPSI-taught course had a higher rate of responding in terms of attempting and completing unit tests and interacting with the computer system, as well as a higher level of persistence in mastering tests. Discussion will focus on students’ verbal reports about using CAPSI or WebCT and why students enrolled in the CAPSI-taught course had a higher response rate.



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