Date of Award

Spring 2023

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Christopher F Bauer

Second Advisor

Melissa Aikens

Third Advisor

Rudi Seitz


This work describes the development, implementation, and assessment of a curriculum- embedded metacognition instruction model. The Talking About Learning is Key (TALK) module, a 10-week, discussion-based instruction module was initially integrated into a general chemistry course at a community college in Spring 2020. This case study was assessed qualitatively using a thematic analysis to characterize student posts and replies to the Learning Management System discussion board. Course outcomes between Spring 2020 – Fall 2021 were analyzed to determine what effect participation had on course completion and final grade.Finally, the generalizability of the module was investigated using a focused case comparison between implementation in introductory, general, and organic chemistry. Assessment of the module included the characterization of student and instructor perspectives which were collected using semi-structured interviews. Results of the initial case study indicate that participation in the TALK module results in students adapting their metacognitive knowledge and adjusting their study strategies. The aggregated outcome analysis suggests that participation in the module is correlated with higher rates of course completion and improved outcomes. Also, the case comparison suggests that these results are generalizable, with similar thematic patterns resulting from the analysis of introductory, general, and organic chemistry discussion posts and replies. Student perspectives support student buy in, as those interviewed enthusiastically described successfully using skills and concepts that they learned in the module. Student comments also implicate intimidation due to social comparison (with peers viewed as being more skilled) and fear of failure (beyond failing the course) as potential barriers to engagement in the online module. Perspectives from different instructors who implemented the module confirm that both students and instructors saw value in the instruction, and that implementing the module was not cumbersome. The qualitative nature of this work allowed for the simultaneous characterization and assessment of metacognitive awareness and skillfulness. Consistent with the literature, significant numbers of students lacked awareness of critical metacognitive strategies and possessed a fixed view on intelligence. Importantly, students describe benefiting from this instruction and report adjustments in their behaviors in subsequent semesters. This work represents an effective metacognition model implemented in the community college setting and demonstrates that a more comprehensive metacognitive curriculum can be implemented alongside course content instruction. This is especially relevant for the community college community as the module structure allows for a simple yet effective method for delivering supplemental instruction. Future studies will be directed towards increasing student participation and faculty adoption.

Available for download on Wednesday, June 05, 2024