UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaborating with university instructors to foster self-regulated learning in science undergraduate courses Mazabel Ortega, Silvia


Learning at university demands students to be more independent learners than learning in high school and many undergraduates struggle academically because they have not mastered the skills to take control of their learning. Moreover, contextual factors may limit their engagement in productive forms of learning. Most institutions offer academic supports to help students overcome academic challenges and navigate university learning, which students must proactively seek out. Often students are unaware such supports exist until after they experience difficulties. Promoting student engagement in self-regulated learning (SRL) in content courses would make supports for learning more accessible to the wider postsecondary population. However, the successful and sustainable implementation of such changes to instructional practice requires course instructors’ involvement. With the goal of advancing teaching concerning SRL in postsecondary settings, my research sought to: document how a group of university instructors included SRL supportive practices (SRLSPs) in their undergraduate courses; probe instructors’ and students’ perspectives about SRL supports; and examine how instructors’ engagement in SRL-focused inquiry enabled them to enhance their teaching practice. Using a multiple-case study design, I partnered with five Science instructors at a Canadian university to form a Community of Inquiry (CoI). Through individual and collaborative inquiry, they learned about, designed, and implemented SRLSPs in a course of their choosing. Data collected revealed instructors’ SRL-focused teaching and their insights about the experiences of teaching for SRL and engaging in inquiry. Instructors’ data was enriched by interviews with a small group of students about their learning experience in these SRL-informed courses. Findings suggested that the instructors infused their teaching with SRLSPs in meaningful/context sensitive ways and observed general positive effects on students’ participation and performance. Both the instructors and students perceived the implementation of SRLSPs as important to make a difference in students’ learning. The instructors perceived systemic, student, and instructor factors afforded and/or constrained their efforts at teaching for SRL and that the CoI model and inquiry processes were productive, validating, and led to sustainable changes to their practice. Contributions to theory, research, and practice about SRL-focused teaching in undergraduate courses as well as considerations for future research are discussed.

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