Emphasis on deep approaches to learning is a combination of 3 sub-scales (reflective, integrative, and higher-order learning) that measures the extent to which a particular course taught by a faculty member emphasizes activities that promote higher level thinking, reflection on one’s own learning, and incorporation of information and ideas from multiple sources into one’s own thinking and work.
For course-based data, the illustration below represents differences in how much faculty emphasize deep approaches to learning by course level and general education status. On average, faculty who teach upper division courses tend to emphasize deep approaches to learning and its sub-scales more when compared to counterparts teaching lower division courses. However, the gap is slightly smaller between upper- and lower-division courses that meet a general education requirement.
Figure 1: Faculty emphasis on deep approaches to learning by course level and general education status
It is important to point out that the orientation of the survey items is different for the Typical-Student survey option; faculty members are reporting their perception of student behaviors rather than their own classroom practices. Though faculty are not asked whether their course meets a general education requirement on this version, noteworthy differences can be found among faculty across various disciplinary areas. For example, faculty in professional fields perceive their students use deep approaches to learning the most when compared to all other disciplines. Alternatively, physical science faculty believe their student use deep approaches to learning the least.
Disciplinary differences are also apparent among the sub-scales. Faculty in engineering, biological sciences, and physical sciences perceive their students use reflective and integrative learning skills the least while faculty in the professional fields and engineering feel their students are engaging in higher-order learning the most.
Table 1: Faculty perceptions of students using deep approaches to learning and sub-scales by general area of academic appointment