Popular Culture as an Effective Teaching Tool in Undergraduate Instruction: Faculty Uses, Motivations, and Links to Best Practices

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[Bloomington, Ind.] : Indiana University
The purpose of this study is to provide a quantitative snapshot of the use of pop culture in American undergraduate education, and argue that its use can be a tool for increasing students’ media literacy in a media-saturated world. Using a survey administered to more than 2,400 undergraduate instructors, I explored how often and which types of media are being used in instruction, which faculty and course characteristics influence the likelihood of pop culture use, and whether pop culture use is linked to other research-based practices in instruction. In order to answer my research questions, I used a series of OLS regressions to predict the faculty and course characteristics that influence frequency of pop culture use and faculty motivations to use pop culture, as well as regressions to determine the influence of other best practices on frequency of use. Results from my study showed that the majority of faculty did not use pop culture frequently in instruction. In terms of faculty and course characteristics that predict pop culture use and motivation, disciplinary area was the group of variables that had the most meaningful results. Arts and Humanities was the most likely to incorporate pop culture and most likely to be motivated to use it. Frequency of pop culture use was positively correlated with other best practices, with reflective and integrative learning showing the strongest relationship. Results from this study have implications for all disciplines, as one of the primary goals of education is to create informed citizens who are able to constructively engage in our world. One key way to accomplish this goal is to incorporate media literacy and familiarity in undergraduate instruction.
Dissertation (Ed.D.) - Indiana University, Department of Education, 2019
pop culture, pedagogy, faculty, teaching, undergraduate
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Doctoral Dissertation