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Board 129: Algebra-Related Misconceptions Identified in a First-Year Engineering Reasoning Course

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

5

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29915

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Lizzie Santiago West Virginia University

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Lizzie Y. Santiago, Ph.D., is a Teaching Associate Professor for the Fundamentals of Engineering Program in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering and has postdoctoral training in neural tissue engineering and molecular neurosciences. She teaches freshman engineering courses and supports the outreach and recruiting activities of the college. Her research interests include neural tissue engineering, stem cell research, absorption of air pollutants in human upper airways, attrition and university retention, increasing student awareness and interest in research and engineering, critical thinking, STEM education, and recruitment and retention of women and minorities.

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Anika Coolbaugh Pirkey Mid-Atlantic Technology, Research and Innovation Center (MATRIC)

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Hyland Anthony Markle

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Robin A. M. Hensel West Virginia University

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Robin A. M. Hensel, Ed.D., is the Assistant Dean for Freshman Experience in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. While her doctorate is in Curriculum and Instruction, focusing on higher education teaching of STEM fields, she also holds B.S. and M.A. degrees in Mathematics. Dr. Hensel has over seven years of experience working in engineering teams and in project management and administration as a Mathematician and Computer Systems Analyst for the U. S. Department of Energy as well as more than 25 years teaching mathematics, statistics, computer science, and freshman engineering courses in higher education institutions. Currently, she leads a team of faculty who are dedicated to providing first year engineering students with a high-quality, challenging, and engaging educational experience with the necessary advising, mentoring, and academic support to facilitate their transition to university life and to prepare them for success in their engineering discipline majors and future careers.

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Melissa Lynn Morris West Virginia University

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Melissa Morris is currently a Teaching Associate Professor for the Freshman Engineering Program, in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University (WVU). She graduated Summa cum Laude with a BSME in 2006, earned a MSME in 2008, and completed her doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2011, all from WVU. At WVU, she has previously served as the Undergraduate and Outreach Advisor for the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department and the Assistant Director of the Center for Building Energy Efficiency. She has previously taught courses such as Thermodynamics, Thermal Fluids Laboratory, and Guided Missiles Systems, as well as serving as a Senior Design Project Advisor for Mechanical Engineering Students. Her research interests include energy and thermodynamic related topics. Since 2007 she has been actively involved in recruiting and outreach for the Statler College, as part of this involvement Dr. Morris frequently makes presentations to groups of K-12 students, as well as perspective WVU students and their families.

Dr. Morris was selected as a Statler College Outstanding Teacher for 2012, the WVU Honors College John R. Williams Outstanding Teacher for 2012, and the 2012 Statler College Teacher of the Year.

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Abstract

The low retention of students in engineering has been a source of concern; graduation rates in engineering varies between 40-60%. The retention of non-calculus ready first year students in engineering is even lower than those of calculus ready students. One of the factors contributing to this low retention rate is students’ struggles in their math courses. This paper summarizes the results from a two year study aimed at improving the retention of non-calculus ready first year students in engineering.

This NSF-IUSE grant involves the development of a course to improve students’ math and engineering reasoning skills. One hundred first-year engineering students, enrolled in college algebra, participated in the study. The course introduced students to Paul-Elder’s theory of critical thinking, in the context of engineering problem solving, engineering design, and experimentation. The investigators found that students’ misconceptions in math impaired students’ ability to solve math and engineering problems. As part of the study, students’ misconceptions were identified in a series of topics presented in class, including order of operations, simplifying rational expressions, simplifying radical expressions, and solving quadratic equations. A series of learning modules were developed to improve students’ math skills and to identify and address student’s misconceptions. This paper will discuss the misconceptions found, and will present the learning modules developed to assist students in recognizing and correcting their misconceptions.

Santiago, L., & Pirkey, A. C., & Markle, H. A., & Hensel, R. A. M., & Morris, M. L. (2018, June), Board 129: Algebra-Related Misconceptions Identified in a First-Year Engineering Reasoning Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29915

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