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"Where Do We Go From Here?" Teaching a Generation of Nclb Students in College Classrooms

Description: Since the passing of No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, the United States' secondary education system has undergone significant changes. In this study, I discuss the ways in which the law has encouraged the normalization of standardized testing and aim to answer two primary research questions. RQ1: What do college students and their instructors identify as the key challenges that arise as students educated under NCLB begin college coursework, and how does each group address these challenges? RQ2: What strategies do the actors and spect-actors in a Forum Theatre production arrive at for addressing the challenges faced by college instructors and their students who have completed their secondary education under No Child Left Behind? To answer the initial research question, I conducted focus group interviews with instructors and students at the University of North Texas to understand the challenges each faces in the classroom. To answer the second research question, I compiled narratives from the focus group interviews along with other materials into a performance script that concluded with scenarios based in Augusto Boal's Forum Theatre techniques. In live performance events audience members rehearsed strategies for addressing the challenges that instructors and students face in classrooms through performance. Following descriptions of the performances, I analyze the scenarios through theories of Michel Foucault and Paulo Freire, to understand the productive power of the banking model reflected in the suggestions from the audience.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Lovoll, Andrea K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Connecting the Circuit: Analyzing Jurors' Cognitive Gaps and Damage Awards in Patent Infringement Trials

Description: Patent litigation is notorious for the technicality of evidence and the rhetoric of experts. Citizens selected to serve on the jury have no specialized training and have rarely been exposed to the technology or the patent process. This study provides insight into the field of jury decision-making in complex patent cases by analyzing the cognitive gaps and the tactics used by jurors to minimize them. Additionally, the study examines the justifications for the damage awards jurors provide. This analysis focused on jurors engaged in mock trial patent deliberations. The story model and sensemaking theory serve as the theoretical framework of this research and provide a structure for support and a lens for analysis. The results indicate that jurors rely on three distinct and dichotomous topologies when navigating cognitive gaps. Searching for answers either individually or as a group, relying on lists or stories, and turning to facts or emotions, jurors navigate through their uncertainty. Through the line-by-line analysis of mock jury transcriptions, three continuums regarding damage justifications emerged. Jury members found themselves navigating uncertainty versus certainty, rationality versus irrationality, and facts versus emotions. The theoretical implications broaden the story model to include cognitive gaps in all phases and increase the model's efficacy in patent litigation through the addition of a fourth phase. This study also confirms and enhances the use of sensemaking to describe the jury decision-making process. The results of this study should be applied practically to the field of patent litigation. Results should be used to create a user-friendly environment where the high stakes of litigation demand increased juror understanding and are critical to justice.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Drescher, L. Hailey
Partner: UNT Libraries

This Isn't About Me: Communication Privacy Management Theory and Public Confession

Description: Individuals at the DFW Church publicly confess intensely personal information, such as drug and alcohol addiction, spousal and child abuse, stripping, and sexual abuse. Using communication privacy management theory (CPM), I examined the way individuals at the DFW Church manage their private information, how they make disclosure decisions, and how they manage boundaries around their private information. I interviewed 13 individuals who participated in public confession, and coded their responses to identify the common themes and tactics for making disclosure decisions. Through this process, I pioneer the application of CPM to examine public disclosure events, rather than dyadic or small group disclosures. I also expand our current understanding of motivations for disclosure; rather than focusing on selfish or therapeutic motivations, participants want to encourage others through their disclosure. In terms of boundary management, individuals at the DFW Church believe that God owns part, or all, of their information; thus, disclosing their pasts is "not about them." Participants construct a new identity through their testimony narrative, effectively putting the old person in the past and presenting a new, Christian identity to the church body for group approval. In this context, confessing a negative behavior becomes a way to build a positive image by showing the drastic reformation that has taken place in that person's life. Lastly, I propose the public disclosure model—which involves boundary testing, audience analysis, and choice of disclosure path—to be tested for use in future research.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Brittain, Kära Ann Caskey
Partner: UNT Libraries