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Advanced Student-Centric Learning Practices in Applied Engineering Programs

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Student Learning, Problem Solving, & Critical Thinking 2

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.140.1 - 24.140.16

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Paper Authors


Ben D Radhakrishnan National University

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Prof. Ben Radhakrishnan is currently a full time Faculty in the School of Engineering, Technology and Media (SETM), National University, San Diego, California, USA. He is the Lead Faculty for MS Sustainability Management Program. He develops and teaches Engineering Management and Sustainability Management graduate level courses. Ben has taught Sustainability workshops in Los Angeles (Army) and San Diego (SDGE). His special interests and research include teaching methods (specifically Student-Centric Learning), promoting Leadership in Sustainability and Management Practices. He is also an Affiliate Researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, focusing on the energy efficiency of IT Equipment in a Data Centers.
Before his teaching career, he had a very successful corporate management career working in R&D at Lucent Technologies and as the Director of Global Technology Management at Qualcomm. He initiated and managed software development for both the companies in India. He holds MS in Engineering and MBA degrees.

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Advanced Student-Centric Learning Practices in Applied Engineering ProgramsStudent-Centric Learning (SCL) has been recognized as an effective methodology to engage andmotivate students for a long time. Research conducted by National Training Laboratory andother leading universities have identified and measured the benefits of SCL as it relates tostudent performance. With the advent of high-speed internet technology, availability of largedata bases brimming with information and the rapid growth online course offerings, have takenSCL to another new higher level, thus empowering students like never before.Graduate level applied engineering programs are offered through onsite live classes and onlineclasses. Different types of SCL techniques have been successfully implemented in MSSustainability Management, MS Engineering Management and MS Environmental Engineeringprograms. The specific SCL techniques used include: - Knowledge-centric SCL promoting development of critical thinking by applying learned outcomes to real world problem-solving - Assessment-centric SCL promoting opportunities for feedback and improvement - Community-centric SCL promoting interactions among the learners for sustained learningThe specific exercises students are engaged in demonstrating one or more of the abovementioned techniques in the applied engineering programs include: - Individual brief research on a topic of student’s choice on the latest developments in the area of the study and present it to the class and defend it - Teams take a course learning objective or principle, research its application in a company or in a country, present and/or write a report with their critique - Teams design and develop a game in support of a course learning objective or principle, play the game in the class and demonstrate the relation to the course learning outcomes - Students get to choose part of the exam contentThis paper presents specific examples of the advanced SCL techniques/exercises used in thedifferent programs and how they are tailored to a course, tailored for online or onsite, along withassociated assessments (grading, feedback, etc.). Charts with students’ feedback on thetechniques will also be presented. Students’ feedback on their learning experiences through SCLhas been positive. The key part an instructor plays in promoting and motivating students for SCLwill be presented. The paper will also discuss the future of SCL and the opportunities it providesfor student empowerment and the change from passive to active learning with technology as akey enabler.

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