Dissertation Defense by Danene Brown
Date and Time
Tuesday, March 18, 2014 from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mother Rosalie Hill Hall, 135
San Diego, CA 92110
DO NEW BUILDINGS, EQUIPMENT, AND TECHNOLOGY IMPROVE STUDENT OUTCOMES?: A LOOK AT ONE COMMUNITY COLLEGE’S EXPERIENCE
During the last decade, community colleges have taken a close look at the way they educate and train students, and are using an assortment of student engagement indicators in an effort to assess and document learning outcomes of their students. While these indicators have proven helpful, the extent to which new buildings, equipment and technology have been integrated into these metrics has been sorely lacking; instead, the assumption has been that more modern facilities, equipment, and technology will improve students’ learning and better prepare them for the workforce.
To test this assumption, this study examined the relationship between a new facility and student outcomes at one Southern California community college, specifically addressing the extent to which student perceptions regarding their professional preparation differed between students who completed their programs before and after the new building, as well as the extent to which student perceptions of the new building, equipment, and technology correlated with indicators of student engagement, persistence, preparation for the workplace, licensure exam passage rates, and faculty perceptions of these student outcomes. Using both descriptive and inferential techniques, results revealed that students who completed their programs in the new building perceived the facilities as having a positive influence on their overall learning, preparation for the workplace and their licensure exam, and felt their program to be of better quality than did students who completed their programs in the old building. Interestingly, the facility had no significant influence on any of the student engagement factors – academic challenge, active and collaborative learning, student effort, and student-faculty interaction, although licensure passage rates of students completing their programs in the new building were higher than students that completed their programs in the old building. Not surprisingly, faculty program directors perceived the new building, equipment, and technology as having a positive impact on student learning, and their preparation for the workplace.
Taken together, these results suggest that facility characteristics may provide a means in which to capture evidence of student learning, which can be useful for both accreditation and to reassure taxpayers that their fiscal investment is meeting needs of California businesses and industries.