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Board 134: FOUNDATIONS – Integrating Evidence-based Teaching and Learning Practices into the Core Engineering Curriculum

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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 Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

10

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29927

Download Count

32

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Paper Authors

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Keith G. Sheppard Stevens Institute of Technology

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Dr. Keith G. Sheppard is Senior Adviser to the Dean in the Charles V. Schaefer, Jr. School of Engineering and Science and a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. His research interests have included electrochemical aspects of materials synthesis and environmental degradation of materials. His education in the U.K. included B.Sc. (University of Leeds) and Ph.D. (University of Birmingham) degrees in Metallurgy and a diploma in Industrial Administration (Aston University). He was the recipient of the Henry Morton Distinguished Teaching Professor Award in 2009. In his prior role as Associate Dean, Prof. Sheppard had a leading role in the development of the undergraduate engineering curriculum at Stevens, including innovations in design education and initiatives to include entrepreneurship, sustainability, and global competency for undergraduate students.

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Gail P. Baxter Stevens Institute of Technology

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Frank T. Fisher Stevens Institute of Technology

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Frank T. Fisher is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and former co-Director of the Nanotechnology Graduate Program (www.stevens.edu/nano) at Stevens. He has been awarded the NSF CAREER award, the ASEE Mechanics Division Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnson Jr. Outstanding New Educator Award, and the 2009 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Stevens Alumni Association.

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Susan Lowes Teachers College, Columbia University

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Dr. Susan Lowes is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has conducted research at both university and K-12 levels, with a focus on STEM learning and on the impact of different technologies on teaching and learning. She has directed evaluations of multi-year projects funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education and the National Science Foundation, and served on Dept. of Education and NSF Advisory and Review panels. Dr. Lowes has worked extensively with Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Stevens Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering and Science. She has co-authored papers and presentations on STEM learning in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics. Dr. Lowes is also Adjunct Professor in the Program in Computers, Communication, Technology, and Education at Teachers College, teaching courses on methodologies for researching technology in education and on online schools and schooling.

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Patricia J. Holahan Stevens Institute of Technology

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Patricia J. Holahan is an Associate Professor of Management in the School of Business, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, USA. She has served as PI/PD on several NSF funded projects that target large-scale institutional change and transformation. Currently she serves as a PI on NSF#1311792 and NSF#524656. On NSF#1524656 she oversees the organizational research related to modelling organizational change and transformation processes. Dr. Holahan holds a PhD in organizational behavior and theory from Purdue University’s Krannert Graduate School of Management. She teaches courses on organizational behavior and design and organizational change. Her work has been work published in several leading academic journals including, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Management Studies, and Journal of Product Innovation Management.

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Susan Staffin Metz Stevens Institute of Technology

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Susan Metz is Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Senior Research Associate at Stevens Institute of Technology. Metz is a founder of WEPAN, Women in Engineering ProActive Network. She is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, the Maria Mitchell Women in Science Award and a Fellow of the Association for Women in Science.

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Abstract

The project is to enact a transformation to the adoption of evidence-based teaching & learning practices in all core mathematics, science, and engineering science courses taken by engineering students in their first two years, with approximately 500 students entering engineering each year. The project provides support to enable the faculty who teach these critical core courses to understand and adopt evidence-based practices, iteratively redesign their courses and assess the impact of those changes, and target deep and transferable learning within and across disciplinary domains. Strategies to support faculty change include ongoing discussions of the principles of teaching and learning and discipline-based education research; trained peer assistants to facilitate active-learning pedagogies in lectures and recitations; midterm course evaluations as formative feedback; and advocacy with colleagues to catalyze diffusion beyond these early courses.

The project has to date engaged two cohorts of faculty, nine supported in summer 2016 and eight in 2017, who teach the core Calculus, Chemistry and Physics courses, together with the foundational engineering science courses in Engineering Thermodynamics and Engineering Mechanics. Eight of the twelve core courses that will ultimately be targeted have so far been impacted to some degree. The faculty engaged to date are heavily weighted towards teaching stream, but our theory of action anticipates these being the champions to effect diffusion through sharing their experiences and successes with the tenure-stream faculty who tend to teach upper-level courses.

The extent of participating faculty and classroom transformation is being examined through the lens of limiting-factor analysis, which identifies and addresses those factors that need to be in place if the project is to be sustainable. Faculty are interviewed before and after implementing changes. A study is also being conducted on the institutional climate factors that support/hinder the transformation to evidence-based teaching. A baseline survey which investigated several climate factors was administered to all faculty of the institution at the start of the program. The cultural supports for change have also been addressed with the Faculty Senate and senior academic administrators. Midterm and end-of-course evaluations provide student input on their perceptions of the changes introduced by faculty.

Consistent with the literature, the baseline survey showed evidence-based practices were generally perceived as not supported or rewarded, not easy to implement, and require development of new skills. Where faculty had a positive view it was correlated with perceived relative advantage and compatibility with current practices. A significant project outcome has been the incorporation of an explicit goal to implement evidence-based teaching practices in the University’s most recent revision of its strategic plan. The results from the faculty surveys, after changes to their course delivery, showed that well-prepared peer mentors and TAs are an essential component of the ecology of active learning. Midterm and end-of-course surveys show large variability in student perceptions of the changes and how they impacted their own understanding.

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation EHR/DUE IUSE:EHR Program

Sheppard, K. G., & Baxter, G. P., & Fisher, F. T., & Lowes, S., & Holahan, P. J., & Metz, S. S. (2018, June), Board 134: FOUNDATIONS – Integrating Evidence-based Teaching and Learning Practices into the Core Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29927

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