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Stonebraker receives innovative education award

Stonebraker receives innovative education award

“I am tremendously grateful to be able to work on [advances in education] for our students and for Quinlan as a whole,” says Stonebraker.

By Adriana Geday  |  Student reporter

Clinical Professor Peter W. Stonebraker, PhD, CFPIM, was recently recognized for the “Best Paper in Innovative Education” by the Northeast Decision Science Institute (NEDSI), an organization dedicated to improving managerial decisions in support of global progress.

This is his third Innovative Education award from the Decision Sciences Institute.

Stonebraker’s most recent award honors his paper “Active Learning: Enhancing the Outcomes of Virtual Pedagogies,” which examined the differences in learning outcomes of traditional and online business statistic courses with a particular emphasis on the impact of engaged learning.

“In writing this paper, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about how to teach both traditional and online courses, including all of the supportive technology advances” says Stonebraker. “These advances have really helped me to provide the high-quality online courses at Quinlan that engage students and facilitate the creation of better courses.”

Stonebraker will be formally recognized at the 2017 NEDSI Annual Conference during the gala dinner and award ceremony on March 25. 

Here, Stonebraker discusses the objectives and results of his paper, the importance of engaged learning, and what this honor means.  

What were your paper’s objectives?

The paper is based on a survey questionnaire that was given to students of six undergraduate business statistics courses that I taught during the 2015–16 academic year. The surveys, given at the start and on the final day of the course, compared student understanding of business statistics concepts and models, and was approved by the Loyola Institutional Review Board.

Those courses were a mix of:

  • Web-facilitated traditional course: Some electronic delivery
  • Hybrid/blended virtual course: Combination of traditional and virtual course activities

My initial objective was to determine whether hybrid or blended virtual courses resulted in the same degree of student learning as the web-facilitated traditional courses.

The second objective was to determine whether an engaged learning component would enhance the learning outcomes of either the traditional or the virtual course.

What were the conclusions of your research?

The first conclusion was that the delivery method of the course—traditional versus virtual—doesn’t make a difference. The learning outcomes of these two groups were not different.

The second conclusion was that if you add an engaged learning component and engage the students in the topic though a real-life application, students learn more due to that engagement.

What do students gain from engaged learning?

My engaged learning course required students to serve as consultants for the Homelessness Prevention Call Center, a component of Catholic Charities, which offers assistance to people who are at risk of being evicted or have their heat or lights turned off due to a recent personal financial difficulties.

The students were given access to the HPCC database of some 140,000 observations. They were then were tasked to diagnose the data on the type of person who calls for support, the efficiency of the HPCC processes, and sources of money that is dispersed to the needy. Students operated as a consultancy, and at the end of the course they give a presentation on their conclusions from that data to the senior managers of the HPCC.

As part of the engaged learning process, students also met with homeless people and thus gained a much broader realization of the Loyola mission to understand the consequences of injustice and to be active in resolving it. This engagement put statistical theory database analysis into a real-world application, giving students a better understanding of the concepts and how to apply them.

What does this award mean to you?

This paper took a lot of years of teaching and research and has taught me how to be more conscious of my teaching, especially the processes of communicating with online students.

So, to see this work acknowledged is a great honor. I certainly appreciate the support that Mary Malliaris, chair of the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management Department (ISSCM), has given me, particularly her support of my efforts to teach online and to enhance the courses that I teach.

My goal is to learn to better use the available online technologies and to teach these courses at Quinlan. I am tremendously grateful to be able to work on such advances for our students and for Quinlan as a whole.