San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.105.1 - 25.105.13
A Student Centered Learning Lab to Increase Motivation & Interest in Environmental EngineeringProblem based learning (PBL) is a well established student-centered approach which promotesapplication-based learning, enhances problem solving skills and fosters peer learning. This paperdescribes implementation of a PBL within a junior-level course on environmental engineeringprocesses. The PBL was an open-ended, two-hour lab, where student teams designed, built andtested a prototype water treatment system to achieve stated water quality criteria (UVtransmittance and turbidity). Each team was given a scope of work that outlined the problem,objectives, design criteria, available materials, constraints, effluent quality testing protocol (usinga synthetic influent) and evaluation criteria. Students were given no prior information about thelab, and the PBL lab was the first lab of the semester.A multidimensional instrument was developed and administered three times throughout thesemester. Questions were designed to evaluate whether or not the PBL had a quantifiable effecton learner motivation (for the course and environmental engineering), and self efficacy. Resultsindicate that the students enter the course as highly motivated learners (cohort motivation forcourse (out of 5): median=5, mean=4.32). This ceiling effects limits assessment of the directimpact of the PBL lab on learner motivation. The data do, however, suggest that learner selfefficacy increased as a result of the PBL. Evidence from post-lab student presentations supportsthis observation, with teams applying knowledge from previous classes to this new problem.The PBL lab was received; students reported enjoying collaborating with their peers to develop atangible solution to a real-world problem. Student feedback suggests the influence of the PBLmay increase if learners had an opportunity to see the influent prior to construction. This studyprovides additional empirical evidence to encourage more widespread inclusion of PBLteaching/learning experiences into environmental engineering curricula.
Sathyamoorthy, S., & Jarvin, L., & Hollis, M., & Christ, J. A., & Ramsburg, C. A. (2012, June), A Student Centered Learning Lab to Increase Motivation and Interest in Environmental Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/20865
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