June 22, 2008
June 22, 2008
June 25, 2008
Educational Research and Methods
13.126.1 - 13.126.11
A TExT for Engineering Education in the 21st Century 1. Objectives and Overview
Engineering education research continues to demonstrate that a growing variety of teaching methods are more effective than the time-honored lecture format. In addition, the engineering education literature provides a wealth of examples of the implementation of these more effective methods, along with data establishing their efficacy. Nonetheless, the standard lecture format remains in widespread use. This might be remedied by replacing the conventional textbook with a TExT (Toolkit for Exceptional Teaching) that integrates a comprehensive set of teaching tools with the content normally found in a textbook. A prototype TExT is being developed so that this hypothesis can be tested. The objectives of the TExT are enumerated, its components are identi- fied, and their intended use is described in this overview of its on-going development. The use of the prototype TExT, at its current level of development, in teaching a senior-level undergraduate engineering course is also described.
Teaching methods that involve and engage the students (e. g. active learning, collaborative learn- ing, cooperative learning, problem-based learning, inquiry based learning, project based learning and case-based learning) have been studied and found to be more effective than traditional the lecture 1, 2. Nonetheless, in 2001 the National Center for Education Statistics reported that 87.7% of engineering faculty used lectures as an instructional method in the classes they taught while only 5% indicated the use of methods other than lecture, seminar, lab or field work 3, 4. The bene- fits and desirability of incorporating more effective teaching methods would appear to be obvi- ous, raising the question why the traditional lecture format remains so predominant and how in- structors who use this less effective teaching approach might be “won over” to using active learning in their classrooms.
Some (hopefully small) fraction of engineering instructors simply has no interest at all in the en- gineering education literature or in attending teaching workshops. It may not be worth the effort to even attempt to persuade this group of instructors to deviate from a traditional lecture format 5. A second group of engineering instructors may have an interest in using more effective teaching methods, but at the same time may harbor reservations. Their reservations may include concerns about whether the methods really work, about how to implement them in a particular situation (large class, distance learners, etc.) or about whether the same amount of material can be “cov- ered” as in a traditional lecture format 6-8. The National Research Council has noted 9, 10 that one of the challenges here is informing faculty about research on effective teaching, and they have emphasized the need to create a community of scholars who can act as resources for doing so. The need to for this type of scholarly network is echoed in reports from Project Kaleidoscope11 and from the National Academies 12.
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