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.


36th Annual Convention; San Antonio, TX; 2010

Event Details

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Symposium #156
Applying Basic Behavioral Principles to Improve Academic Performance, Teaching Skills, and Research Lab Management at a Southern University
Sunday, May 30, 2010
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Texas Ballroom Salon A (Grand Hyatt)
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Behavior Analysis
Chair: Maureen Kathleen Flynn (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: There have been ongoing efforts to improve the academic performance of undergraduates and teaching skills of both new instructors. Another important area of investigation is research lab management in university settings, which has not been subject to much analysis to date. The studies in this symposium were efforts to improve these areas using behavior analytic techniques at a southern university. This symposium will present findings in each of these areas.
Why Am I in College? Bringing Values to the Classroom
NADIA LUCAS (University of Mississippi), Maureen Kathleen Flynn (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a third wave behavioral therapy that focuses on the development of broader, more flexible patterns of activity. Although ACT is often used in clinical populations, several studies have shown that it is an effective intervention in non-clinical populations as well (Hayes et al, 2006). Valued living is one of the six processes of change proposed in ACT. Studies have shown that writing about values can lead to a decrease in defensiveness for self-threatening information (see McQueen & Klein, 2006, for a review; Sherman et al., 2000), an increase in positive other-directed feelings, such as love and connection (Crocker et al., 2008), and an increase the grades of African American students (Cohen et al., 2006). The current study is designed to look at the impact of a brief ACT valued-focused intervention compared with a standard time management intervention in undergraduate psychology classes on student performance. Students will be randomly assigned to either the ACT intervention or the time management intervention after the first exam. Following the second exam, students will be given the opposite intervention. Student performance will be measured grades on assignments and examinations required for the class.
Effects of Student and Observer Feedback on Teaching Behaviors of New Instructors
MAUREEN KATHLEEN FLYNN (University of Mississippi), Nadia Lucas (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: New instructors at universities step into the role needing to develop or further develop certain behaviors to improve their teaching. They often get no or little feedback to help them develop these skills. This study utilizes a multiple baseline design and feedback to shape various teaching behaviors of two graduate student instructors. The target behaviors were chosen specifically to the individual weaknesses of each instructor. The instructors were observed daily and their performance on target behaviors were recorded. Feedback on the performance of the target behaviors was given to the instructors. The instructors also got feedback from their students, who rated their performance on the target behaviors on a likert scale. The results and implications of this study will be discussed.
Impact of Online Course Resource Utilization on Course Performance Across Traditional and Nontraditional College Students
ELIZABETH KOLIVAS KOLIVAS (University of Mississippi), Chris Young (University of Mississippi), Walter Reuff (University of Mississippi), Jennifer Bailey (University of Mississippi), Michael Allen (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: The use of online course management systems (CMS), such as Blackboard, is becoming increasingly common in university courses. Research suggests students who are provided extensive access to online course materials, such as lecture presentation slides, perform better on objective outcome measures of course performance. However, the relative impact of other factors such as student motivation, computer fluency, study skills, and student status (i.e., traditional versus nontraditional) on performance outcomes is unknown. It is important to identify the specific online learning resources that are most beneficial and who may be less able or willing to utilize and thus benefit from these resources. In this study, computer skills and attitudes and study skills were assessed on the first day of class in two student populations enrolled in separate sections of a social psychology summer course. One section was held on a main university campus and the other on an associated satellite branch campus. Student utilization of online course resources (i.e., chapter quizzes, supplemental and required readings, lecture slides, etc.) was tracked throughout the semester using Blackboard and compared across populations with respect to course performance and results from study and computer skills assessment measures. Results and implications will be discussed.
Practicing What We Preach: Applying Behavioral Principals to Increase Productivity in an Academic Research Lab
MICHAEL BORDIERI (University of Mississippi), Kate Kellum (University of Mississippi), Kelly G. Wilson (University of Mississippi)
Abstract: While behavioral research laboratories are the source of much of the research literature in behavioral analysis, they are rarely, themselves, the subject of an analysis. The lab environment is unique as it combines elements of a workplace and an academic setting— both areas where behavioral interventions have shown considerably efficacy. Following a brief overview of existing behavioral principals used in the day-to-day management of the Mississippi Center for Contextual Psychology, a controlled study will be presented. This investigation evaluates the efficacy of performance feedback in increasing the productivity and involvement of undergraduate students earning course credit for working in the research lab. Using a reversal design, the effect of performance feedback on lab productivity (i.e., amount and quality of work) as well as lab involvement (i.e. self reports of “connectedness”) was assessed. Feedback was delivered individually to each lab member weekly via e-mail and public posting of overall lab productivity presented during weekly lab meetings. Results and implications for behavioral based lab management will be discussed.



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