June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.159.1 - 14.159.7
Adapting and Implementing the SCALE-UP Approach in Statics, Dynamics, and Multivariable Calculus
Abstract Our team seeks to deliver more effective statics, dynamics, and multivariable calculus instruction through active, student-centered courses and integrated course curricula. These courses were transformed to an inquiry, collaborative learning approach, and were assessed using a mixed method approach. Student performance in the courses and in follow-on courses have been used to measure improvements in concept retention. Conceptual tests (Statics and Dynamics Concept Inventories) were administered before and after each semester of the project, and normalized gains were compared with those for traditional learning environments wherever possible.
Improvements in statics concept comprehension and course performance indicators demonstrate the project's success. Learning activities for the statics-dynamics courses integrated material from multivariable calculus, and vice-versa, which is unique and beneficial. Students are selecting courses taught in our student-centered environment over traditional formats, as they gain a reputation as being more challenging yet rewarding courses. Classroom renovations to accommodate active and cooperative learning through studio environments have been completed in seven classrooms at our institution (Clemson University), indicating administrative support for these pedagogical innovations, and faculty willingness to practice active learning in studio environments.
We are in the third year of implementing active and collaborative learning in second-year engineering mechanics and mathematics courses at Clemson University as part of a CCLI Phase 1 grant. This approach is modeled after Beichner and colleagues’ Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) method1. An integrated statics and dynamics course for Mechanical Engineers, one section of statics for other engineering disciplines, and a simultaneous multivariable calculus course were taught using the adapted SCALE-UP method. Although the approach has been studied in physics courses, it has not been validated in engineering courses, until this study. We have examined the effectiveness of this pedagogical approach through student performance indicators, and through feedback from students and faculty. We also addressed the professional development needs of instructors to deliver student-centered course materials effectively, through workshops and course support materials.
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