UBC Graduate Research

Teaching and Learning in Hard and Soft Disciplines at North American Universities Osama, Ahmed; Andres, Lesley


In this study we employed National Student and Faculty Surveys of Student Engagement (NSSE and FSSE) from various USA and Canada universities to investigate teaching and learning practices in hard and soft disciplines. Using seven years of quantitative data extracted from the surveys, the trends of different teaching practices and learning outcomes in hard and soft disciplines were assessed. Also, we examined the association between the studied teaching practices and the resulting learning outcomes. Regression analysis was also performed to develop a model for the deep learning index. Results demonstrated that faculty in hard disciplines were more dependent on teacher-centered approaches than those in soft disciplines; the latter relied mainly on student-centered approaches. Moreover, student-centered approaches to teaching were found to have a positive impact on deep learning sub-scales, while teacher-centered approaches affected those sub-scales negatively.

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