Asee peer logo

An Examination Of Changes In Bioengineering Faculty Pedagogy Within “How People Learn" Environments

Download Paper |


2005 Annual Conference


Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005



Conference Session

Building New Communities

Page Count


Page Numbers

10.167.1 - 10.167.6



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Alene Harris

author page

Monica Cox Purdue University

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Monica Farmer Cox, Alene H. Harris, Ph.D.

Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University/ Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University


Developed in 1990 for use in bioengineering classrooms within the VaNTH (Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Science and Technology) Engineering Research Center, the VaNTH Observation System (VOS) is a four-part direct observation instrument that examines faculty and student interactions, students’ academic engagement levels, the lesson content and context of a class, and global ratings of effective teaching.1 In addition, the VOS reports information about faculty members’ use of the “How People Learn” (HPL) framework, a framework, that when coupled with traditional teaching techniques, are expected to optimize student learning.

The first part of the VOS, the Classroom Interaction Observation (CIO), records (1) who is initiating in-class comments or questions, (2) to whom in-class comments or questions are initiated, (3) what types of interactions are occurring, (4) the presence of “How People Learn” dimensions and organization, and (5) the type of media that is used during a class session. For three minutes, CIO data is recorded in four- to six-second code strings. Following the CIO, observers use the Student Engagement Observation (SEO) portion of the VOS to take a thirty- to sixty-second “snapshot” of the number of students engaged in sanctioned or unsanctioned activities. Following the SEO, observers use the Narrative Notes (NN) portion of the VOS to type information about the content and context of a class as well as any extenuating circumstances that might have occurred within that class. After a cycle of collecting CIO, SEO, and NN data throughout a class session, observers rate the cumulative aspects of a class session using the final portion of the VOS, the Global Ratings (GR).

Of the four components of the VOS, the CIO provides specific information about the presence of classroom organization and the four dimensions of the “How People Learn” (HPL) framework—knowledge-centeredness, learner-centeredness, assessment-centeredness, and community-centeredness.2 Knowledge-centered environments promote student learning with understanding about the application of key course concepts. Learner-centered environments probe students’ academic perceptions, misconceptions, learning styles, beliefs, and prior experiences. Assessment-centered environments formatively and summatively assess students’ understanding of course concepts. Community-centered environments encourage students,

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Harris, A., & Cox, M. (2005, June), An Examination Of Changes In Bioengineering Faculty Pedagogy Within “How People Learn" Environments Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. 10.18260/1-2--14843

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: © 2005 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