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Board 115: Work in Progress: Retrospective Analysis on the Perspective of Instructors about Transitioning to Using Active-learning Strategies to Teach Mechanical Engineering Classes

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Sreenidhi Krishnamoorthy University of California, Davis

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Mr. Sreenidhi Krishnamoorthy is a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at the University of California - Davis. He works as a Graduate Student Researcher at the Western Cooling Efficiency Laboratory and as a Teaching Assistant Consultant at the Center for Educational Effectiveness, both on the UC Davis campus. As a Teaching Assistant Consultant, Sreenidhi focuses on improving undergraduate student learning by supporting the professional growth of Teaching Assistants. He has a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Cincinnati and a Bachelor of Technology degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Dhanbad - India.

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According to previous research, active learning methods have been stressed several times as being very effective for a better learning experience in engineering classes. However, an efficient transition process to using those methods is equally important to achieve the desired results in colleges that currently use lectures as the primary mode of teaching. The planning process involved in such a transition and its effectiveness was investigated by using the mechanical engineering department in a leading R1 university as case-study, where a departmental policy of promoting active learning methods in undergraduate classes was newly implemented. Professors and teaching assistants instructing mechanical engineering courses in this college were interviewed to understand the steps they went through to transition to using more active methods of teaching. Data collected from instructors-of-record in 5 different sophomore and junior level courses revealed their readiness levels on using interactive methods to enhance student learning. In addition, the immediate challenges that the instructors face due to this shift to active learning has been investigated. Since many of these courses rely heavily on teaching assistants (TAs) to run the active learning components of the courses such as discussion sections, the communication between TAs and their instructors-of-record about the method of conducting these sessions was also studied through the interviews. This work-in-progress provides insights into the differences in levels of receptiveness to active learning instruction methods between the TAs and faculty members. Finally, some information that would have enabled both TAs and instructors to make a smoother shift to active learning practices has been pointed out, which will be useful to other schools planning for a similar shift in their instruction methods in the future.

Krishnamoorthy, S. (2018, June), Board 115: Work in Progress: Retrospective Analysis on the Perspective of Instructors about Transitioning to Using Active-learning Strategies to Teach Mechanical Engineering Classes Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29886

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