This multigroup qualitative study used chat-based focus groups to gather and analyze data about student and faculty perceptions regarding recitation courses at the University of Utah. As part of a curriculum update, the University of Utah college of Pharmacy made large changes to its class structure in 2016. One of these changes was the implementation of a “recitation” course. However, addressing how well the course if performing is a challenge. Class surveys give some insight into how well the course is meeting is goals but are insufficient. A qualitative study using focus groups consisting of both students produced themes such as the course being graded vs. non-graded, student/faculty involvement, etc. These themes were then able to be translated into concrete suggestions to be implemented in the course.
Hopefully this helps the College improve recitation. Do you have any ideas about why students seem to be more in favor of a letter grade for the course than faculty are?
From the focus groups, it felt like students felt there would be better participation if they needed to do more than a “minimum requirement”. Some faculty seemed to share that thought as well, but it seemed there was more hesitation among faculty about how the course would be graded etc.
I have so many good constructive evals from this term – definitely something we need to keep evaluating! Thanks for the start on this topic!
Hi Peter, the results of your study are very useful and I am sure will lead to many improvements in our Recitation courses. If you were starting over on this project, what would you do differently? Moving forward, do you think it would be useful to construct an online survey based on the several themes you’ve identified that could be used to get feedback from a larger number of students? Also, I’ve recently been using the automatic close captioning feature in Zoom and it does a great job of transcribing. Do you think using this feature instead of chat might have changed anything about your focus group sessions?
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