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Addressing the Differences between Intention and Retention in Engineering Classrooms: Possible Ways to Design Classes for Students' Knowledge Retention.

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering

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Paper Authors


Neelam Prabhu Gaunkar Iowa State University

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Graduate Student in Electrical Engineering with interests in electromagnetism, high-speed systems, sensors and engineering education.

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Mani Mina Iowa State University

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Mani Mina is with the department of Industrial Design and Electrical and Computer Engineering at Iowa State University. He has been working on better understanding of students' learning and aspects of technological and engineering philosophy and literacy. In particular how such literacy and competency are reflected in curricular and student activities. His interests also include Design and Engineering, the human side of engineering, new ways of teaching engineering in particular Electromagnetism and other classes that are mathematically driven. His research and activities also include avenues to connect Product Design and Engineering Education in a synergetic way. In addition, he is active in high-speed systems engineering, and strong magnetic pulses as well as magneto-optical systems for fiber optics applications.

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An individual’s learning method is often subject to personal inquisitiveness, initiative and inspiration from instructors or other mentors and persistent hard work. Since it is not easy to cater to either inquisitiveness nor student initiative in conventional classrooms, the role of the instructor becomes critical in moulding a student’s learning method [1]. Meanwhile, instructors face the challenge of juggling many hats at the same time. They are required to deliver content, make sure students progress and also need to assess periodically. In such busy environments, arguably, many instructors miss delivering/focusing on aspects of inspiration and leading students into creating connected stories, thoughts and reflections about their learning [2]. If learning is such a personalized process, why do we as instructors attempt to teach all in the same way? This is a question that engineering education as well as many other areas have been facing for many years [3,4]. The general intent of being all inclusive and equal is well served. Nevertheless, since learning approaches differ, each student brings his/her own experience to the discussion and builds on his/her own stories from the sub-stories they create [5,6]. The authors would like to argue that actual learning occurs in this stage, the disparity in the intended communication and student’s acquisition. This is often considered as a flaw on the student’s end in receiving what the instructors conveyed. However, it is actually a value to their learning and growth. The real learning occurs when students are able to engage ‘who they are’ with ‘what they learn’ [7,8]. To better assess the student’s actual learning, in this work, an assessment of the disparity between intention and retention is performed via review of reflections in an inquiry-based course. The student’s were initially provided with a traditional lecture and lecture notes and asked to reflect about what they knew. Then, the students were asked to explain how they could use the idea to achieve something of their interest or for a specific task. Once the student’s write about their own interests, it was apparent, that their stories and experiences had far greater value than the instructor’s initial intent. Finally, with the student’s at the center and awareness of the differences in an instructor’s instruction and student’s retention would make learning an enjoyable experience for both students and instructors.

Prabhu Gaunkar, N., & Mina, M. (2019, June), Addressing the Differences between Intention and Retention in Engineering Classrooms: Possible Ways to Design Classes for Students' Knowledge Retention. Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32040

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