Faculty Focus Group Report
Focus group questions were designed to elicit each faculty member’s own classroom practices before introducing them to images showing examples of classroom configurations, furnishings, and affordances. The images, presented after faculty members articulated their classroom practices, were meant to inform a discussion about more and less useful/desirable features and configurations of classrooms. The classroom spaces shown were characterized as “aspirational,” meaning innovative spaces meant to help faculty members imagine new possibilities for teaching and learning approaches. Focus group protocols structured questions and activities such that faculty would carry out their main discussion about the benefits and challenges of particular classroom arrangements after classroom image prompts were shown. But faculty members instead engaged in rich discussions of the benefits and challenges of classroom image prompts during our presentation of the images, typically carrying on a discussion associated with each image in turn. Approximately 25 images were shown to faculty, revealing various classroom arrangements and features.
With only a few exceptions, the 39 faculty members in the focus group discussions identified active and collaborative learning strategies as their primary teaching approaches. They understood the classroom to be a site of active learning; this was the context within which faculty situated their comments about the benefits and challenges associated with the classroom configurations, furnishings, and affordances on display in the images.
Textual artifacts include:
- Focus group transcripts
- Moderator notes (one of the two moderators present at each focus group discussion took notes on the interactions)
- Faculty member notes related to specific images shown (a handout encouraged faculty members to write notes associated with each classroom image)
Analysis began with a close reading of the transcripts generated from the focus group discussions, and yielded a list of recurring topics within the following categories:
- Classroom Room Experience/Characteristics
- Digital Affordances
- Classroom Convenience
- Writing Surfaces
- Specific Classrooms
- Classroom Activities
- Images (Numbered)