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Assessment Activities in Teaching First-year Engineering Mechanics

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2021 First-Year Engineering Experience



Publication Date

August 9, 2021

Start Date

August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

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Shelley A. Lorimer P. Eng. Grant MacEwan University

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Shelley Lorimer is a Professor in Engineering (BSEN) Transfer Program at Grant MacEwan University. She is an instructor in the introductory engineering courses as well. The BSEN program at MacEwan has grown from forty students since in started more than twenty years ago, to the current 216 students. The majority of the students in the program transfer to second year engineering at the University of Alberta.

Shelley is a graduate of the University of Alberta in engineering and is a registered professional engineer with APEGA (Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta). Prior to her career at MacEwan, Shelley worked in industry as a research engineer and a consulting engineer for several years.

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Jeffrey A Davis P.Eng. Grant MacEwan University

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Dr. Davis' research focuses on pedagogical topics such as student engagement, active learning, and cognitive development. Projects he is currently working on include “Development of a risk assessment model for the retention of students”, “Development of Student Assessment Software”, and “Improving Student Engagement through Active Learning”.

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Assessment activities play a significant role in teaching first-year engineering mechanics courses to ensure that accreditation standards are met. Traditionally, for in-person lecture-based course delivery, assessments typically involved a mix of problem-solving assignments, labs and examinations. In terms of exams, they were often delivered in a time restricted in-person invigilated setting for first-year students to uphold academic integrity and ensure that assessments demonstrate individual learning for students. With the accelerated move to online delivery of lecture material during the Covid pandemic many instructors were required to rapidly transform to a completely different mode of assessment. This paper speaks to that rapid transformation of first-year assessments and how prior research in engineering education was used to ease the difficulty of this transition. Prior to the pandemic, there had been a need to investigate the use of online resources to assist in delivery of course materials, from online learning management systems (LMSs) to online resources (quizzes, worksheets, problem databases, interactive activities and simulation to name a few) that were often used to demonstrate competency of learning outcomes. In the past several years, the authors of this paper conducted research on large problem-solving databases, the use of active learning in accelerating efficacy for student learning, automatically generated assessment activities, and the development of online quizzes and exams. The paper summarizes the techniques used for assessments in first-year mechanics and makes a comparison to traditional methods as well as the tools (such as Crowdmark) used that facilitated uploading and marking of more traditional textbook assignments and seminar problems. A discussion and reflection of the successes and challenges (such as frequency of assessment) is then presented. Finally, the paper reflects on the more serious consequences of the move to online assessments in terms of issues with online invigilation.

Lorimer, S. A., & Davis, J. A. (2021, August), Assessment Activities in Teaching First-year Engineering Mechanics Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--38371

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