Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
An Investigation of the Effect of Curriculum-Embedded Peer Mentoring on Student Learning in Two Undergraduate Mechanics Courses The benefits of peer mentoring in undergraduate STEM courses are well documented, and the literature indicates that the greatest benefits of the experience may be to the peer mentor. However, in most peer-mentoring models it is only the best and brightest students who are chosen for mentor roles, and thus it is the mentors who therefore gain the majority of the benefits of the experience. As part of a study on the feasibility of peer mentoring activities that involve all students in a degree program, the effectiveness of the peer mentoring activities in two particular classes was examined to understand the effect of the activities on student learning. In particular, the research questions were: 1) What was the impact of the peer mentoring project on student learning, 2) Was there a differential impact on student learning among students at different levels of achievement (ie. was student learning impacted more among “C” students than “A” students) or among underrepresented students? 3) What was the quality of mentoring work produced and was this correlated with achievement level in the class? 4) What were the benefits and drawbacks of the varied ways the activity was executed between the two classes? The overall goal was to determine whether this activity was effective at extending the benefits of peer mentoring to all students involved.
We investigated the implementation of a curriculum-embedded peer mentoring structure in two sophomore/junior level courses- one was a Civil Engineering course (CE 310), “Strengths of Materials,” and the other was a Mechanical Engineering course (ME 320), “Dynamics.” All of the CE 310 students engaged with two types of peer mentoring. First, they were asked to respond to a survey about their academic experience thus far, using open ended written responses. These responses were shared with a freshman level architectural engineering course, ARCE 101, “Introduction to Architectural Engineering”. Next, the CE 310 students were tasked with creating short videos explaining relevant concepts to students in a prerequisite course, CE 301 (Statics and Dynamics). The ME 320 students were tasked with making short videos illustrating their choice of either key mechanical engineering concepts from a pre-requisite course (ME 211, “Statics”), or engineering identity/academic success topics.
To answer the four research questions, we will examine student learning data in terms of performance on learning objectives on the relevant exam questions in both CE 310 and ME 320 (hypothesizing that a forced review of material from prerequisite courses may improve performance on particular objectives) and by compiling themes from a reflection exercise. We will use faculty and student surveys to assess the participation level, quality of content produced, and student perception of the impact of the activity, and compare between courses. In addition, we will look at all data as a function of achievement level in the course and underrepresented status to determine any differential effects.
McVey, M., & Bennett, C. R., & Luchies, C. W., & Lequesne, R. (2018, June), An Investigation of the Effect of Curriculum-embedded Peer Mentoring on Student Learning in Two Undergraduate Mechanics Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29797
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