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An Evaluation of a University-Level, High School Course Taught to Foster Interest in Civil Engineering (Evaluation)

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Pre-College Engineering Education Division Technical Session 9

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--36666

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36666

Download Count

151

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Paper Authors

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Morgan R. Broberg Purdue University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2406-8117

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Morgan Broberg is a current Ph.D. student in Civil Engineering at Purdue University. Her research interests include modeling, analysis, and design of steel-concrete composite systems and effective teaching in civil engineering.

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biography

Susan Khalifah P.E., S.E. Purdue University

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Ms. Susan Khalifah is the Director of Student Experience in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering at Purdue University. Additionally, she is an instructor for CE 479 (Design of Building Systems), Advisor for Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Purdue and CE 498 (Senior Design), and Study Abroad Program Lead for EWB at Purdue University. She holds a civil engineering degree from Purdue University and has over 15 years of experience as a Structural Engineer in the structural engineering design of buildings. Prior to transitioning to academia, she worked in a number of structural engineering consulting firms while obtaining two professional engineering licenses. From the College of Engineering at Purdue University she received the Bravo Award in 2018 and 2019 as well as being a Professional Achievement Award finalist in December 2019.

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Abhinav Gupta Purdue University

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A PhD student in Civil Engineering.

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Abdullah J. Nafakh Purdue University

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Abdullah J. Nafakh is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in Transportation at Purdue University. Abdullah gained both his B.S.C.E. and M.S.C.E. at Purdue University.
After gaining his M.S.C.E. degree, Abdullah worked for two years as a roadways engineer carrying out several roadway projects for public Indiana agencies before returning to Purdue as a PhD student.

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Abstract

High school students have limited exposure to engineering education, especially civil engineering. To fill this knowledge gap, the authors’ offered a new college-level, civil engineering course to high school students. Initial course planning anticipated an on-campus environment with a focus on hands-on learning. Due to COVID-19 and the university system’s response, the course shifted to an online platform. In this new setting, the course incorporated both synchronous and asynchronous modules with 18 students from geographical locations spanning 11 time zones. The students had diverse prior exposure to civil engineering, virtual learning environments, and active learning techniques. This paper evaluates the new program’s effectiveness in increasing students’ interest in civil engineering. Also, the paper shares detailed practical techniques that can be implemented to design (or redesign) courses intended to represent both a rigorous college class and foster interest in engineering. The effectiveness of this course is evaluated based on student engagement with online content, student evaluations, and comparison of pre- and post-class surveys. Student engagement was measured by class participation, on-time assignment submission, and time spent engaging with online materials. To get students’ perspective on course content, delivery method, and teaching techniques, class evaluations were administered to all students at the end of the course. Pre-and post-class surveys asked students uniform questions related to their definition of civil engineering, description of core class principles, and the university. The authors found that students appreciate group work, interactive activities, and opportunities to research and report on complex topics. Specific active learning techniques including split room debates, think-pair-share activities, and using novel software for real-time polling were mentioned by learners as especially meaningful. From the instructors’ perspective, the success of these virtual interactive activities is predicated on learner by-in. Initial ideas developed for in-person instruction were largely abandoned, and alternative approaches were used to leverage the assets and limit the drawbacks of an online environment. Some techniques used were issuing online polling solutions to encourage participation and putting learners in permanent groups to help combat feelings of isolation. Altogether, these techniques led learners to engage with civil engineering topics, fostering interest and growing their knowledge of the topic, while meeting the required rigor of the university classroom.

Broberg, M. R., & Khalifah, S., & Gupta, A., & Nafakh, A. J. (2021, July), An Evaluation of a University-Level, High School Course Taught to Foster Interest in Civil Engineering (Evaluation) Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36666

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015