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Board 132: Study Success of Transfer Students in Engineering Technology: the Effect of a MOOC and a Math Diagnostic Test

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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

Two-Year College Division Poster Session

Tagged Division

Two-Year College

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29924

Download Count

17

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Paper Authors

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Lynn Van den Broeck Faculty of Engineering Technology, Leuven Engineering Science and Education Centre (LESEC), KU Leuven

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Lynn Van den Broeck has a master in Engineering Technology and is doing a PhD. Her research focuses on predicting academic achievement of transfer students by setting up a validated diagnostic test for professional bachelor students in their third year, who are thinking about bridging. The second goal is to develop interventions and investigate their effectiveness.

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Tinne De Laet KU Leuven Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0624-3305

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Prof. dr. ir. Tinne De Laet is tenure track professor at the Faculty of Engineering Science, KU Leuven. She obtained a doctoral degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 at KU Leuven, Belgium supported by a scholarship of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO). She was a post-doctoral researcher of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) at KU Leuven from 2010-2013. In 2013 she obtained a tenure track position, focusing on engineering education and supporting and counselling of students in particular during the transition from secondary to higher education. She is the Head of the Tutorial Services of Engineering Science, providing her with first-hand experience on the transition from secondary to higher education.

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Carolien Van Soom KU Leuven, Faculty of Science, LESEC

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Carolien Van Soom is associate professor at the Faculty of Science of KU Leuven and head of Tutorial Services in Science. Her research interest focuses on predictors of study success and dropout in first year STEM-programs. Topics include the interrelationship of cognitive and motivational factors related to a successful transition into higher STEM-education, and changes in motivation and self-concept during the first year of higher STEM education, with special focus on gender differences.

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Marlies Lacante KU Leuven & University Free State (South Africa)

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Marlies Lacante is professor at the faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the KU Leuven and at the Leuven Statistics Research Centre. She is also Associated Research Fellow at the University of the Free State (South Africa). Her research is focused on educational career choice and career development, transition from secondary to higher education, drop out in higher education, learning and study strategies, role of gender, methodology used in educational research (including test construction).

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Greet Langie Langie KU Leuven

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Greet Langie holds a MSc degree and PhD in Physics from the University of Leuven (Belgium). From 2009-2011 she was the chair of LESEC (Leuven Engineering and Science Education Center, http://set.kuleuven.be/LESEC), a research center focusing on applied educational research in engineering and science HE-programmes. From 2012 until now she’s the vice dean of the Faculty of Engineering Technology (KU Leuven, Belgium). In her research she’s focusing on the transition from secondary to university within the STEM-field. She's the project coordinator of the two following Erasmus+ projects: (1) readySTEMgo, in which she focuses on early identification of STEM readiness and on targeted academic interventions (see http://iiw.kuleuven.be/english/readystemgo) and (2) PREFER, in which she studies professional roles and employability of future engineers (see http://preferproject.eu/). Greet Langie is committee chair capacity building within SEFI, she’s a member of the SEFI Physics Working Group (http://www.sefiphysics.be/) and she is the co-organizer of the PTEE-conferences.

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Abstract

In Flanders (Belgium), when students decide to continue in higher education they are free to enrol in almost every study program, since there are no admission requirements, except for medicine or dentistry. The higher education system offers two types of bachelor’s degrees namely a professional (PBA) and an academic one (ABA). Both bachelors have a total weight of 180 ECTS, resulting in a three-year study program. The purpose of a PBA, organized at a University College, is to prepare students for a professional occupation. An ABA, arranged at a University, is intended to acquire all the necessary knowledge and skills to start a master’s program. In order to stimulate a flexible lifelong learning system, students with a professional bachelor’s degree can transfer to an academic master’s program on the condition that they successfully complete a one-year transfer program (TR). The TR focuses on acquiring the missing competences needed to start a master’s program. Unfortunately, the success rate of the TR at the Faculty of Engineering Technology, KU Leuven, is rather low. To provide transfer students with information about their possible future study success, a voluntary and non-binding mathematics diagnostic test was developed. The mathematics test consisted of 19 multiple choice questions and was held in 2015-2016 and in 2016-2017. Math lecturers categorized the multiple choice questions, based on their individual experience and by cross-checking with each other, into three levels of difficulty (i.e. easy, average and difficult) and five categories of subjects (i.e. algebra, calculus, elementary arithmetic, graphics, and geometry & trigonometry). Since mathematics was defined as one of the major stumbling blocks in a previous study and because the transfer students did not have had mathematics during their PBA, they need a tool to prepare themselves. Therefore a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) was developed for the transfer students of 2016-2017. Students who followed the MOOC (N=52) obtain significant higher results (t=3.186, p=.002) on the diagnostic test than the ones who did not (N=40). When students not had the opportunity to prepare themselves, the correlation between the diagnostic test and the students’ academic achievement (N=82) was not significant. In contrast, the diagnostic test of 2016-2017 (N=173) correlated significantly at the 0.01 level with academic achievement (r=.32). There is also a remarkable difference in the internal consistency (i.e. Cronbach alpha) of the mathematics test between the two academic years. In 2015-2016 (N=124) the Cronbach alpha was 0.54, which is low. In 2016-2017 (N=254) a much better consistency was found, namely 0.72. Thanks to the MOOC students obtain significant higher results on the diagnostic test and is the corresponding predictive value higher. By giving students the opportunity to refresh their knowledge, they are not graded on memory but on their capacities. To conclude, the two mathematical tools (i.e. diagnostic test and MOOC) are very useful as a preparation tool and for predicting the academic achievement of the transfer students.

Van den Broeck, L., & De Laet, T., & Van Soom, C., & Lacante, M., & Langie, G. (2018, June), Board 132: Study Success of Transfer Students in Engineering Technology: the Effect of a MOOC and a Math Diagnostic Test Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29924

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