Collaborative Research: Student Produced Audio Narratives (SPAN)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The U.S. needs more, and more diverse geoscientists for the workforce, but recruiting new geoscience majors is difficult. This project will test the impact of a simple but potentially effective curricular change in large, introductory courses with a goal of improving non-science major student engagement in STEM by introducing student-produced audio narrative assignments to the curriculum. Student-produced audio narratives (SPAN) are assignments in which students engage with geoscience content by telling a scientific story using simple audio recording and production techniques. The overall goal of using of SPAN in STEM courses is to develop methods that will change the learning environment so that students feel an increased personal connection to STEM, particularly in the geosciences.

SPAN assignments are ideally suited to the challenges of introductory courses, such as large classes, minimal laboratory materials/access, and limited faculty support, especially in underserved programs. This pedagogical approach has the potential to positively impact students' perceptions of geosciences, and science in general, and to increase their engagement with the learning environment. The research team will develop a collaborative and iterative implementation model with a regional Partner Faculty network and embedded assessment. In the first semester, Partner Faculty (focused in the mid-Atlantic region) receive training on technical and storytelling aspects of audio production and developing audio assignments tailored to their own classes. Partner Faculty will implement the assignments over the next three semesters. This project explores and implements the tool of student audio production, develops an implementation model though a Partner Faculty network, and measures the learning outcomes using mixed methods to research students' perception of and engagement in science. A collaborative regional network of faculty will design and implement student-produced audio narratives in their introductory-level classes, including at two-year community colleges. This project creates and tests flexible, adaptable assignments incorporating student-produced audio narratives. Finally, it researches the impact of student-produced audio narratives on students' perceptions of their learning environment and attitudes toward science using novel educational research methods.

Effective start/end date6/15/175/31/22


  • National Science Foundation: $66,860.00


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