Editor’s Column

You are offered the eighth issue of the Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching
(JRIT)
, published annually by National University since 2008. The journal plays an important
role in demonstrating the steady progress that the institution has made in establishing a research
culture. In accordance with National University’s mission to make lifelong learning opportunities
accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population, the annual publication of a research
journal is an important benchmark in the university’s maturation process. Teaching, research,
and scholarship are interrelated. Research, particularly scholarship in the areas of teaching and
learning, enriches teaching and is capable of significantly improving the quality of education.
Therefore, a strong commitment to research forms an essential part of the university’s overall
culture.

The JRIT is an annual, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed publication of original research
focused on effective new instructional approaches, methods, and tools. It is intended to produce
momentum in our quest for excellence; increase efficiency of research, scholarship and learning;
and to ensure better learning outcomes for our students. The journal is a forum for sharing
faculty accomplishments in this area both within the National University community and with
the outside world of academia, which will ultimately benefit both the university’s academic
community and our students. The editorial board is composed of top academics and
administrators from National University, as well as national and internationally acclaimed
scholars. The review board includes both internal and external reviewers.

This issue features 12 articles accepted after a rigorous double review process. Among the
authors you will find National University faculty members, outside scholars working with
National University faculty members, U.S. academics from outside the university, and
international researchers.

Each article in this issue has been assigned to one of the following sections:

  • General Issues
  • Mathematics Instruction
  • Education and Business Training
  • Technology-Based Teaching and Learning
  • Language Education
  • Assessment and Evaluation

The first article in the General Issues section by R. D. Nordgren, The Age of
Accountability in Education: Modernist Approaches to School Reform
examines major school
reforms in the U.S., the most recent of which ushered in the “Age of Accountability” that
controls schooling today. These reforms are Modernist in their approach, perhaps inadequately
preparing graduates for success in the 21st century economy, especially if preparedness is to be
measured by standardized test results. A Post Modern approach, which the author proffers, will
better prepare citizens for the global economy, as well as active participation in a democratic
society.

In her article Humor and Self-Efficacy Traits that Support the Emotional Well Being of
Educators
, Teri Evans-Palmer indicates that educational research has overlooked the association
between teachers’ sense of humor and instructional self-efficacy. Her article examines the humor
teachers employ to deliver effective instruction, and the stress-moderating effects of humor on
their emotional health. Her findings support a positive relationship between social humor and
instructional self-efficacy when controlling for age, gender, experience, and perceived stress.
Implications of this analysis call for support of teachers’ affective health in school environments.

In the Mathematics Instruction section, Michael G. Voskoglou presents the article
Mathematical Modelling as a Teaching Method of Mathematics. The author analyzes
mathematical modeling as a tool for teaching Mathematics, through which students can
understand the usefulness of mathematics in practice by connecting it with real-world
applications. Further, methods for assessing students’ mathematical model building skills are
presented (calculation of the means, GPA index, COG defuzzification technique) and compared
to each other through a classroom experiment performed recently with students of the School of
Technological Applications of the Graduate Technological Educational Institute (T. E. I.) of
Western Greece.

Olena V. Semenikhina and Marina G. Drushlyak in The Necessity to Reform Mathematics
Education in Ukraine
argue for the need to reform mathematical education in Ukraine. The
authors trace the impact of information technologies on the learning process, development, and
updating of mathematics software and identify reasons for reform. Possible paths for
transforming the system of math education are demonstrated, taking into account the harmonious
combination of mathematical knowledge and specialized mathematics software; the level of
development of mathematics software and its study; updating the curricula by introducing a
“Computer Mathematics” course, use of research approaches instead of computational ones; and
formation of cross-disciplinary and extracurricular links in Mathematics.

The section Education and Business Training presents the article The Nexus between
Education and Training: Implications for the Adult Learner
by Thomas M. Green, Chandrika M.
Kelso, and Don Zillioux. The authors write that over the past four decades, the number and
percent of adults attending colleges and universities has significantly increased. During this same
period, corporate and business training for adult employees has grown to as much as $200 billion
a year. Extensive research in both higher education and corporate training clearly demonstrates
that understanding how adults learn has reduced barriers to their success. This paper explores the
implications of applying educational best practices for adult learners to work-related training,
and vice-versa.

The Technology-Based Teaching and Learning section features four articles.
In their article Technology Integration in the Resource Specialist Program Environment:
Research-Based Strategies for Technology Integration in Complex Learning Environments

Jennifer Courduff and Amanda Szapkiw explore the process through which special education
teachers transferred technology knowledge to instructional integration. Based on situated
learning theory, they utilize design-based research methods to explore how the two-part strategy
of participation in a community of practice and the use of matrices affected perceived value,
frequency, and progress toward instructional synthesis. Their findings indicate qualitative
changes in teaching practices due to raised awareness of technology tools, collaboration within a
community of practice, and increased student engagement. Implications include improved
technology integration strategies for pre-service teacher education coursework and professional
development.

Bryan K. Allen, Gordon W. Romney, Pradip Peter Dey and Miles D. Romney offer the
article Collaborative Academic-Government Agile Development of a Cloud Prototype Fire
Retardant Drop Log Application for Wildfire Management
. They developed a computerized
system for combatting wildfires using Agile concepts in both pedagogy and systems
development. State-of-the-art cloud infrastructures were used to implement a free, proof-ofconcept
digital Drop-Log on Azure Cloud using a MySQL database.

The article Communication, Collaboration and Relationships in the
Online College Class: Instructors’ Perceptions
by Peter Serdyukov & Cynthia Sistek-Chandler
investigates the role of socialization and interactivity in online university classes and, through
instructors’ perceptions, attempts to understand current trends in online education while outlining
future developments in this area.

Nelson Altamirano in Economics, Engagement and Deeper Learning:
Game Design Methodology Approach
states that teaching microeconomics with games usually
requires the instructor to create games and play them in the classroom. This approach, as the
author claims, is too costly for the instructor and does not ensure deeper learning. A better
alternative is the game design methodology approach; it reduces instructor’s costs and increases
the chance of students’ gaining deeper learning through the use of Excel-based teaching tools
and group assignments that ask students to create their own games.

In the Language Education session Mojgan Rashtchi and Vida Karami present the article
Adopting a New Identity: A Technique to Improve Writing Skill. This study investigates whether
adopting a new identity could impact the writing ability of Iranian EFL learners. The results of
the independent samples t-test and repeated measures ANOVA showed that the experimental
group outperformed the control group.

The final session, Assessment and Evaluation features two articles.

Nataliya Serdyukova writes that indirect assessment allows educators to obtain valuable data
that can be used for the enhancement of teaching and learning in her article What Does Indirect
Assessment Tell Us?
Her paper reports a pilot study of students’ perceptions about two courses
in General Physics taught in different formats using a survey as an indirect assessment
instrument. The study aims to identify key issues in the course content, structure, and delivery; to
appraise and compare these courses; and to develop recommendations for improvement.

In his article Improving the Uniformity and Consistency of the End-of-Course Evaluation
Response Mappings to Numerical Quantities by the use of Fine-Grained Answers and Guidelines

S. R. Subramanya continues discussion of the end-of-course evaluations started in the previous
issue. He states that, despite being administered for over fifty years and studied extensively, no
single end-of-course evaluations scheme has emerged that is uniform and consistent. He
proposes a scheme that provides a set of fine-grained answers to each question and a simple but
well-defined set of guidelines for answering the questions. These are expected to improve the
uniformity and consistency of the student responses.

Note to the Author offers guidelines for authors submitting their papers to the Journal of
Research in Innovative Teaching
.

We invite scholars to submit their research for the ninth issue, to be published in 2016.

Peter Serdyukov

March 1, 2015