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Applied Knowledge Retention – Are Active Learning Tools the Solution?

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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

Software Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Software Engineering Division

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Paper Authors


Sushil Acharya Robert Morris University

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Acharya joined Robert Morris University in Spring 2005 after serving 15 years in the Software Industry. His teaching involvement and research interest are in the area of Software Engineering education, Software Verification & Validation, Data Mining, Neural Networks, and Enterprise Resource Planning. He also has interest in Learning Objectives based Education Material Design and Development. Acharya is a co-author of “Discrete Mathematics Applications for Information Systems Professionals- 2nd Ed., Prentice Hall”. He is a member of Nepal Engineering Association and is also a member of ASEE, and ACM. Acharya was the Principal Investigator of the 2007 HP grant for Higher Education at RMU. In 2013 Acharya received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant for developing course materials through an industry-academia partnership in the area of Software Verification and Validation. Acharya is also the Associate Provost for Research, Graduate Study, and International Program.

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Bruce R Maxim University of Michigan, Dearborn Orcid 16x16

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Bruce R. Maxim has worked as a software engineer, project manager, professor, author, and consultant for more than thirty years. His research interests include software engineering, human computer interaction, game design, social media, artificial intelligence, and computer science education.
Dr. Maxim is professor of computer and information science at the University of Michigan—Dearborn. He established the GAME Lab in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He has published a number of papers on computer algorithm animation, game development, and engineering education. He is coauthor of best-selling introductory computer science and software engineering texts. Dr. Maxim has supervised several hundred industry-based software development projects as part of his work at UM-Dearborn.

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Jeffrey J. Yackley University of Michigan, Dearborn Orcid 16x16

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Jeffrey Jonathan Yackley is a doctoral student in computer information science and a graduate student instructor at the University of Michigan – Dearborn. His research focuses on computer science education and search-based software engineering in the sub-domains of software architecture, refactoring, and testing.

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Knowledge retention is a human issue requiring efficient effective teaching strategies to overcome. In today’s deliverable driven economy members of the software development workforce are expected to bring in applied knowledge that allows them to perform at high levels from their first day on the job. Software Engineering students often do not have enough hands-on experiences to help them retain knowledge on key software concepts to allow them to add value and make timely impact on their first job. Engineering programs need to go beyond simply offering industry-based capstone courses and internships.

Engineering educators regard experiential learning as the best way to train the next generation of software engineers. It is the authors’ belief that introducing active learning opportunities in their major courses can help students, bridge the experience gap between study and practice. Active learning makes use of applied classroom activities that engage students in the process. Active learning can be delivered in different formats like using a flipped classroom or peer instruction. Instructors in active classrooms make use of a variety of tools like case studies, trigger videos, role play, and small group exercises. Active learning assists in knowledge retention by immersing students in hands-on activities whose purpose is to reveal the mapping between theory and practice.

In this paper the authors’ discuss the effectiveness of Active Learning, describe the Active Learning Tools developed to teach Software Engineering knowledge areas in their Universities and present learning assessments with student testimonials.

Acharya, S., & Maxim, B. R., & Yackley, J. J. (2019, June), Applied Knowledge Retention – Are Active Learning Tools the Solution? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32099

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