Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
This work in progress describes an active learning classroom model developed by the authors as a key element of electrical engineering education. The three pillars of electrical engineering coursework are electronics, signals and systems, and electromagnetics. These courses are usually taught concurrently without any reference to the many interconnections between them. As a result, students learn the key concepts in these courses in isolation. That is why the authors of this paper, as part of a National Science Foundation Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (NSF RED) grant, are developing a new pedagogical framework where the emphasis is on connecting key concepts across these three courses. This framework is referred to as a knowledge integration (KI) framework. In this KI framework, the instructors of these courses collaborate together to guide student learning in such a way so that the students themselves can recognize the interconnectedness between the concepts of these courses. Such a framework properly contextualizes the concepts in these courses to make the student learning more meaningful. However, in order to achieve this benefit, students need to have the skills of analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating new knowledge – higher level learning skills which are not traditionally emphasized in the undergraduate classroom. This is where an active learning classroom model can prove to be very beneficial. The active learning model of this paper consists of three parts. In the concept introduction part, students are introduced to relevant course concepts via a variety of learning tools such as relevant textbook passages, lecture videos, and Powerpoint presentations with voice-over, all provided through the course webpage. These different tools support the varied student learning styles. Classroom time is devoted to concept exploration where 15 minute mini-lectures sessions are interspersed with 5 minute group discussion and problem-solving sessions. In effect, the classroom is repurposed into a ‘knowledge workshop’ where students inquire about the material and test their application and cognitive skills through hands-on activities. In addition, some of the mini-lectures are delivered by students themselves as a peer instruction exercise. This exercise forces students to abandon their passive learning roles and encourages them to communicate their unique personal learning methods with their peers. Finally, in the concept reflection stage, students provide a brief online reflection statement at the end of every class describing the clearest and muddiest point of that class. These statements serve as daily feedback to the instructor regarding how best he/she can refine the classroom model to meet student’s needs. This classroom model uses a variety of assessment tools such as quizzes, peer instruction exercises, and group assignments that together get a composite picture of the student learning process. These assessment tools are used by the instructor to better gauge student comprehension, cognition, and creativity than traditional examinations and assignments. Moreover, because of the high frequency of these assessment exercises (once every class) as opposed to traditional examinations, the instructor is able to identify the at-risk students and provide them support early in the semester before they slip through the cracks.
Roy, S., & Notaros, B. M., & Pezeshki, A., & Chen, T., & Siller, T. J., & Maciejewski, A. A., & Sample McMeeking, L. B. (2018, June), Active Learning Model as a Way to Prepare Students for Knowledge Integration Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29749
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