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A Manufacturing Processes Course With A Mixed Learning Community And Non Learning Community Audience: Quantitative Results

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.63.1 - 11.63.10



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Paper Authors


Mario Castro-Cedeno Rochester Institute of Technology

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Mario H. Castro-Cedeno is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Packaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY. He teaches courses in introduction to manufacturing, materials technology and computer aided design to engineering technology undergraduates. Before joining RIT in December of 2003 he accumulated 30 years of engineering and management experience at various firms, including NASA and General Electric.

Mr. Castro-Cedeno was born in Puerto Rico and obtained his B.S. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master degree in Materials Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

A Manufacturing Processes Course with a Mixed Learning Community and Non-Learning Community Audience: Quantitative Results


Learning communities, where students take one or more courses together and are encouraged to work as a team and community, have been shown to be effective in reducing attrition and increasing retention of participants at the university level. At the Rochester Institute of Technology they have been shown to be very effective in reducing the number of first year students that do not participate in classroom activities and consequently fail. Many of these students fail in multiple courses and are unlikely to return their second year. This study explores the relative importance of the many variables influencing student performance on a manufacturing processes course, including participation in a learning community.

The relative performance of student members of a learning community vs. students that were not associated with the learning community in an introductory manufacturing processes course is compared. Data were collected about GPA, year in college, whether the student studied every weeknight or sporadically, and about their previous experience and knowledge of manufacturing. The ANOVA statistical analysis is used to investigate the effect of all variables in student performance.

Two variables, GPA and participation in the learning community are statistically valid predictors of success in the course. The data supports the conclusion that students on the learning community performed better than their peers that did not participate in a learning community.


Learning communities (LC) are environments that promote student-student and student-faculty interaction. They have been shown to increase student achievement and satisfaction1-7. At the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), first year students are offered the opportunity to volunteer to join a department living and learning community in which students have the same class schedule and live in the same floor in the dormitory. The community faculty includes all the subjects that the students take together and meets periodically to share information and observations and to review each student’s progress. Previous research has shown that the primary benefit of these meetings is the early identification of “outliers”, i.e. students that are not participating in school activities and missing class7. With such early warning, student support services can help correct the situation.

Although there is much statistical data that support the conclusion that LC improve student performance, most of the research does not clearly separate LC from other factors that are known to increase student achievement. This research attempts to distinguish the “LC-effect” on student performance in a Manufacturing Processes class. The class is required for all first year students in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology Department. In addition, second

Castro-Cedeno, M. (2006, June), A Manufacturing Processes Course With A Mixed Learning Community And Non Learning Community Audience: Quantitative Results Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--474

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