Title

Associate Professor

Contact Information

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Office: 150-L MCKB
Department:
IPT, EIME

Brief Biography

Dr. Davies is originally from Alberta Canada. He graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Mathematics and a B.Ed. in Secondary Education. He received a Ph.D. in Instructional Psychology and Technology from BYU. Dr. Davies served a mission in Spain Madrid. He taught high school for 10 years and worked for four years overseas at the Dubai Women\'s College in Dubai, UAE.

Prior to joining BYU he conducted evaluation research at the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at Indiana University, and taught educational research, assessment & evaluation courses on the Indiana University South Bend campus.

Teaching Interests

My primary teaching responsibilities include Program Evaluation and Assessment in School.

Research Interests

My research expertise is in educational evaluation and assessment.

My primary research agenda includes understanding and improving the teaching and learning process through the use of technology. This involves evaluating technology integration efforts and studying how to better use technology in educational settings.

I am currently working on projects utilizing educational data mining and learning analytics (EDM/LA) techniques to improve instruction in technology enabled learning situations. In addition, I have worked with improving assessment, as its impact on evaluation is so important; I have also published on the topic of teaching evaluation as it relates to my primary teaching responsibilities.

Selected Publications

A Longitudinal Study of Social and Ethical Responsibility Among Undergraduate Engineering Students: Preliminary Results (2016)

Authors: Fuentes, Debra; Warnick, Gregg Morris; Jesiek, Brent; Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Conference Proceedings

Publisher: American Society of Engineering Education

Page Numbers: 22

Abstract: click to view

For students pursuing engineering degrees, training in ethics, social responsibility, and allied topics is advocated by a variety of stakeholders, mandated in ABET accreditation requirements, and largely presumed by professional associations and licensing bodies. As a consequence, almost all engineering students have at least some exposure to engineering ethics training. Additionally, many formal courses and programs have been created to promote ethical integrity and professional responsibility among engineering graduates, while a variety of other interventions (e.g., service learning programs) have been developed to more broadly challenge engineering students to see themselves as socially engaged citizens and professionals. Nonetheless, there has been a surprising lack of research on development of social and ethical responsibility among undergraduate engineering students. Few studies have systematically examined levels of ethical knowledge, decision-making capabilities, and commitments to social responsibility among large numbers of engineering students, much less examined how such indicators change over time and are impacted (or not) by specific kinds of learning experiences. As a result, faculty, administrators, and other stakeholders have little evidence to guide creation of high-impact courses and programs. Still other recent research suggests that such impacts may be blunted by a “culture of disengagement” that pervades many engineering schools. This paper reports on an National Science Foundation (NSF) supported CCE STEM research project that aims to address some of these gaps. Our study addresses two main questions: • RQ1: What do engineering students perceive as responsible (and irresponsible) professional conduct, and what do they perceive as socially just (and unjust) technical practices?, and • RQ2: How do foundational measures and understandings of social and ethical responsibility change during a four-year engineering degree program, both in general and in relation to specific kinds of learning experiences? This paper offers an overview of the longitudinal mixed-methods study design we are using to collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative data from undergraduate engineering students at four universities. These schools represent a variety of institution types, and each has students in programs of particular interest, e.g., those involving service-learning or intensified ethics instruction. Our data collection efforts were initiated in early Fall 2015, with survey responses collected from 757 first-semester engineering students at four schools. The survey includes items and measures related to engineering ethics knowledge, justice beliefs, political and social involvement, macro-ethical considerations, moral attentiveness, moral disengagement, ethical climate, and extensive demographics. Repeat measures will be collected from as many of the original respondents as possible during their fifth and eighth academic semesters. To more deeply probe constructs and themes of interest, we will also conduct semi-structured interviews with more than 10% of survey respondents during their first and eighth academic semesters. In addition to describing our study design, this paper reports preliminary insights from the first phase of our study. We especially focus on some highlights from our initial analysis of the survey data, as well as how select survey results are being used to stratify the interview sample and tune the interview protocol to focus on some observed patterns in the survey data. We expect this paper will be of interest to scholars involved with teaching and/or conducting research on ethics, social responsibility, and related topics.

Using Open Badges to Certify Practicing Evaluators (2015)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Randall, Dan; West, Richard Edward

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 36

Issue: 2

Best Practices for Using Global Virtual Teams (2015)

Authors: Zaugg, Holt E; Davies, Randall Spencer; Parkinson, Alan Roger; Magleby, Spencer P

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Publisher: Springer

Country: U.S.A.

Volume: 59

Issue: 4

Page Numbers: 87-95

Abstract: click to view

As global economies and interactions increase, there is a developing need for students to have a variety of cross-cultural experiences. Traditionally these experiences have occurred through study abroad experiences and internships. With the advent of virtual technologies global virtual teams are an opportunity to provide students with a cross-cultural experience. However, stakeholders need to be aware of their roles and responsibilities in such an endeavor. This article discusses findings from a three-year study seeking to integrate global virtual teams into regular classrooms. The roles and responsibilities of institutions, faculty, and students are discussed in this article.

The Design and Development of a Cross-Cultural Disposition Inventory (2015)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Zaugg, Holt E; Tateishi, Isaku

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Issue: 40

Page Numbers: 81-94

Using a Mobile Dichotomous Key iPad Application as a Scaffolding Tool in a Museum Setting (2014)

Authors: Knight, Kathryn; Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Abstract: click to view

This study tested an iPad application using a dichotomous key as a scaffolding tool to help students make more detailed observations as they identified various species of birds on display in a museum of natural science. The Mobile Dichotomous Key (MDK) iPad application was used by groups of fifth and seventh grade students. Analysis of the findings suggest that the MDK was equally as effective and in some ways more effective than the educator-led intervention at improving students’ scientific observation skills. In general, the scaffolding key in both mobile and educator-led form was found to be more effective for fifth grade students than for seventh grade students. In addition, the it was found to be effective at improving the level of detail students provided and the number of scientific terms they used, but not at improving the number of valid inferences students made.

Communication Skills to Develop Trusting Relationships on Global Virtual Engineering Capstone Teams (2013)

Authors: Zaugg, Holt; Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

The nature of adolescent learner interaction in a virtual high school setting (2013)

Authors: Borup, Jered; Graham, Charles R; Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 29

Page Numbers: 153-167

The Nature of Parental Interactions in an Online Charter School (2013)

Authors: Borup, Jered; Graham, Charles R; Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 27

Issue: 1

Page Numbers: 40-55

Flipping the classroom and instructional technology integration in a college-level information systems spreadsheet course (2013)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Dean, Douglas L; Ball, Nicholas Lyman

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 61

Issue: 4

Page Numbers: 563-580

Abstract: click to view

The purpose of this research was to explore how technology can be used to teach technological skills and to determine what benefit flipping the classroom might have for students taking an introductory-level college course on spreadsheets in terms of student achievement and satisfaction with the class. A pretest posttest quasi-experimental mixed methods design was utilized to determine any differences in student achievement that might be associated with the instructional approach being used. In addition, the scalability of each approach was evaluated along with students' perceptions of these approaches to determine the affect each intervention might have on a student's motivation to learn. The simulation-based instruction tested in this study was found to be an extremely scalable solution but less effective than the regular classroom and flipped classroom approaches in terms of student learning. While students did demonstrate learning gains, the process focus of the simulation's instruction and assessments frustrated students and decreased their motivation to learn. Students' attitudes towards the topic, their willingness to refer the course to others, and the likelihood that they would take another course like this were considerably lower than those of students in the flipped or regular classroom situations. The results of this study support the conclusion that a technology enhanced flipped classroom was both effective and scalable; it better facilitated learning than the simulation-based training and students found this approach to be more motivating in that it allowed for greater differentiation of instruction.

Understanding Technology Literacy: A framework for evaluating educational technology integration. (2011)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 55

Issue: 5

Page Numbers: pp. 45-52

URL: aect.org

Editors: Abbie Brown

Abstract: click to view

Federal legislation currently mandates that technology be integrated into school curricula because of the popular belief that through technology learning is enhanced. The challenge for educators is to understand how best to teach with technology while developing the technological expertise of their students. This paper outlines a framework of technological literacy designed to helps educators understand, evaluate, and promote technology integration properly.

Understanding the Diminishing Academic Advantage of Full Day Kindergarten. (2010)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Cress, S

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Abstract: click to view

Most people agree that young children benefit academically from attending kindergarten; however, some research suggests that any academic advantage attributed to attending full-day kindergarten compared to half-day programs will disappear as early as third grade. Based on the results of this study which looked at students in typical classroom settings, a likely explanation for this is that teachers often provide considerable remedial assistance to low achieving students. Once students meet benchmark expectations, instruction tends to broaden to other instructional objectives. We also found that in practice distinguishing between full- and half-day programs based solely on time in school is problematic. Many schools offering full-day kindergarten do not provide a full day of academic instruction, and many teachers see little value of doing so.

A review of trends in distance education scholarship at research universities in North America, 1998-2007 (2010)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 11

Issue: 3

Page Numbers: 45-56

URL: www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/876/1602

Abstract: click to view

This article explores and summarizes trends in research and scholarship over the last decade (i.e., 1998-2007) for students completing dissertations and theses in the area of distance education. The topics addressed, research designs utilized, and data collection and analysis methods used were compiled and analyzed. Results from this study indicate that most of the distance education research conducted by graduate students in this period of time has been descriptive, often addressing the perceptions, concerns, and satisfaction of various stakeholders with a particular distance education experience. Studies of this type typically used self-report surveys and analyzed the data using descriptive statistics. Validating the concern of many distance education scholars, there was a lack of graduate student research aimed at developing a theory base in distance education. On a positive note, projects directly comparing distance education with traditional face-to-face classrooms to determine the merit of specific programs declined significantly in 2007 compared to 1998. This result might indicate that distance learning is becoming accepted as a viable and important educational experience in its own right. Another encouraging finding was the decreased emphasis on studies focused on technology issues, such as those analyzing the quality of distance education technology and questioning educators’ ability to provide an acceptable technology-enabled distance learning experience.

The Use of Randomization in Educational Research and Evaluation: A critical analysis of underlying assumptions. (2008)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Williams, David Dwayne; Yanchar, Stephen C

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

City: London

Volume: 21

Issue: 4

Page Numbers: 303 - 317

Abstract: click to view

This paper considers the underlying assumptions related to the use of random assignment in educational research and evaluation; more specifically, the ability of random assignment to create similar comparison groups for the purpose of determining the effectiveness of educational programs. In theory, randomly assigning individuals to comparison groups is considered to be the best method available to maximize the likelihood that groups used in this type of research will be similar; however, in educational research designed to identify proven best practices, random assignment of individuals is rarely possible; other methods including random assignment of intact units and non-random selection techniques are often used. Using a database simulation, this study set out to determine the degree to which various selection methods might be effective at creating comparable groups. Given the complex dynamics of the teaching and learning process and the abundance of potentially confounding variables, it seems likely that comparison groups will always be dissimilar to some degree. While random assignment of individuals performed as expected when controlling for a single extraneous factor, the likelihood that comparison groups created in this manner will differ on one or more potentially confounding variables is extremely likely. Based on the results of this study, random assignment of intact units is not an acceptable alternative to random assignment of individuals. In fact, when using intact units, non-random selection techniques were considerably more effective at controlling for potentially confounding influences than randomly assigning existing classrooms to treatment and control groups.

AYP accountability policy and assessment theory conflicts. (2008)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Abstract: click to view

A major objective of NCLB is to hold schools accountable for student achievement including closing the achievement gap and raising standards of student academic proficiency. While the majority of individuals support the underlying values of NCLB, not all agree its accountability policy is reasonable. The most problematic issue is the mandate that schools be held accountable to ensure all students perform at grade level when the methods used by states to determine grade level proficiency preclude the attainment of this standard. The unintended consequences of a policy that does not align theoretically with established educational best practice inevitably result in frustration of educational practitioners and often unwarranted condemnation of the educational system.

Designing a Useful Scale to Measure Average Group Response. (2008)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer

Publication Type: Journal Article, Academic Journal

Volume: 21

Page Numbers: 134 - 146

Abstract: click to view

Creating surveys is a common task in evaluation research; however, designing a survey instrument to gather average group response data that can be interpreted in a meaningful way over time can be challenging. When surveying groups of people for the purpose of longitudinal analysis, the reliability of the result is often determined by the response scale used. Likert scales and numeric continua are commonly used for this purpose. Both scales are relatively easy to create and both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. This paper reports the findings of a project to combine a fully-anchored Likert scale with a numeric rating scale. The resulting scale for a follow-up survey utilizes fixed anchor points along with visual cues to provide a layer of direction for the respondents; it also uses a numeric continuum to elicit a second layer of information that is more discriminating. The results are both easily interpreted on the original scale and are more appropriate for longitudinal comparison purposes both in terms of obtaining reliable results and in the scales ability to identify changes in response over time.

Integrating Technology into a Science Classroom: An evaluation of inquiry-based technology integration (2008)

Authors: Davies, Randall Spencer; Sprague, Constance; M., Colleen

Publication Type: Book, Chapter/ Section in Scholarly Book

Publisher: Information Age Publishing, Inc.

City: Charlotte, NC

Page Numbers: 16

Editors: D.W. Sunal, E. L. Wright, & C. Sundberg

Abstract: click to view

Learning can be enhanced through the use of technology; however, learning does not take place simply because technology is used. Neither can technology fully replace the intelligent human guidance of a skilled science teacher. Technology improves science instruction in a laboratory situation when the learning activity is aligned with the learning objectives of the course, is well-structured, and when the equipment and materials to be used are well-managed. In order for this to happen the science teacher must have a clear understanding of the true nature of science, both the content and the process. Both teacher and students need to obtain a working knowledge of the function and utility of the technology. And while technology enhanced instruction does tend to motivate students to participate in learning activities, learning is more likely to occur when the technology being used becomes a transparent tool in the learning process and not the main focus of the activity.