Mon Valley

McConnell picture


Ongoing Research Topics

Affective Domain

Critical/Civic Thinking



New Research Topics

Cooperative Exams and Multiple Testing Opportunities

Physical and Visual Models

Novice-Expert Continuum




Dr. David McConnell

(919) 515-0381
2148 Jordan Hall

My research focus is on science education, with specific attention to assessment of learning in large general education geoscience classes.  I work with colleagues in other sciences and in the College of Education to provide instructors with teaching strategies designed to fit their course and classroom setting, and to provide students with a range of learning opportunities that will capture their interest and increase their understanding of key concepts.

Geoscience education research in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) is part of the North Carolina State University discipline-based teaching and learning initiative.  MEAS offers both MS and PhD degrees with a focus on geoscience education research in a variety of topics including:

  • The connection between the affective domain and learning outcomes in the geoscience curriculum (NSF-0817286 abstract);
  • Critical thinking for civic thinking in science through student analysis of real-world scenarios (NSF-0633660 abstract);
  • Investigation of transfer with cooperative assessment exercises (conceptests and peer instruction);
  • Assessing the impact of specific instructional interventions (e.g., cooperative exams, models, group exercises) on learning in large lectures and lab settings;
  • Tracing the novice-expert continuum for specific topics from new freshmen through the undergraduate and graduate experience.


Recent Publications

Steer, D., McConnell, D.A., Gray, K., Kortz, K., and Liang, X., 2009, Analysis of student responses to peer-instruction conceptual quesitons answered using and electronic response system: Trends by gender and ethnicity, submitted to Journal of Science Teaching and Technology.

Gray, K., Steer, D., McConnell, D.A., and Owens, K., 2008, Using a student manipulated model to enhance student learning in a large lecture class: Addressing common misconceptions pertaining to the causes for the seasons, Journal of College Science Teaching, accepted for publication.

Ramlo, S.E., McConnell, D., Duan, Z-H, and Moore, F.B., 2008, Evaluating an inquiry-based bioinformatics course using Q methodology; Journal of Science Education and Technology,  v. 17 (3), p. 219-225.

Ramlo, S.E., and McConnell, D.A., 2008, Perspectives of university faculty regarding faculty reading circles: A study using Q methodology: Journal of Faculty Development, v. 22, #1, p. 25-32.

Gerwing, J., McConnell, D., Stearns, D., and Adair, S., 2007, Critical thinking for civic thinking in science: Academic Exchange Quarterly, v. 11, # 3, p. 160-164.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N., Owens, K., Knight, C., and Park, L.E., 2007, The Good Earth: An Introduction to Earth Science, McGraw-Hill, 536 p.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N., Owens, K., Borowski, W., Dick, J., Foos, A., Knott, J.R., Malone, M., McGrew, H., Van Horn, S., Greer, L., and Heaney, P.J., 2006, Using conceptests to assess and improve student conceptual understanding in introductory geoscience courses: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 54, #1, p. 61-68.

Owens, K., Steer, D.N., & McConnell, D.A., 2006, Researcher, Teacher, Education Researcher: The evolution of a university geoscience Instructor, School Science and Mathematics Journal, v. 106, #1, p.27-35.

Steer, D.N., Knight, C., Owens, K., & McConnell, D.A., 2005, Challenging students ideas about earth structure using a model-based, conceptual change approach in a large class setting; Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 53, #4, p. 415-421.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N., Owens, K., & Knight, C., 2005, How students think: Implications for learning in introductory geoscience courses: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 53, #4, p. 462-470.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N., & Owens, K., 2003, Assessment of active learning strategies for introductory geology courses: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 51, #2, p. 205-216