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Board 75: Instructor Use of Movable Furniture and Technology in Flexible Classroom Spaces

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32422

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32422

Download Count

141

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Paper Authors

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Aaron W. Johnson University of Michigan

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Aaron W. Johnson is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan. He received his Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2014, after which he served as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach. Aaron also obtained a master's degree from MIT in 2010 and a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 2008, both in aerospace engineering.

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Jessica E. S. Swenson University of Michigan

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Jessica Swenson is a post doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. She was awarded her doctorate and masters from Tufts University in mechanical engineering and STEM education respectively. Her current research involves examining different types of homework problems in undergraduate engineering science courses, flexible classroom spaces, active learning, responsive teaching, and elementary school engineering teachers.

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Max William Blackburn University of Michigan

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Max Blackburn is a fourth year undergraduate Electrical Engineering student at the University of Michigan, focusing in Power systems and Energy. He is currently assisting Dr. Cynthia Finelli with research concerning the effects of flexible learning spaces and formative assessment techniques.

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Candace Rose Wiwel University of Michigan

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Candace Wiwel is a third year undergraduate student studying Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at the University of Michigan.

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Jessica P. Hernandez

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Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Associate Professor of Education, and Director and Graduate Chair for Engineering Education Research Programs at University of Michigan (U-M). Dr. Finelli is a fellow in the American Society of Engineering Education, a Deputy Editor of the Journal for Engineering Education, an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE. She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at U-M in 2003 and served as its Director for 12 years. Prior to joining U-M, Dr. Finelli was the Richard L. Terrell Professor of Excellence in Teaching, founding director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at Kettering University.

Dr. Finelli's current research interests include student resistance to active learning, faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices, the use of technology and innovative pedagogies on student learning and success, and the impact of a flexible classroom space on faculty teaching and student learning. She also led a project to develop a taxonomy for the field of engineering education research, and she was part of a team that studied ethical decision-making in engineering students.

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Abstract

Flexible classroom spaces, which have movable tables and chairs that can be easily rearranged into different layouts, make it easier for instructors to effectively implement active learning than a traditional lecture hall. Instructors can move throughout the room to interact with students during active learning, and they can rearrange the tables into small groups to facilitate conversation between students. Classroom technology, such as wall-mounted monitors and movable whiteboards, also facilitates active learning by allowing students to collaborate. In addition to enabling active learning, the flexible classroom can still be arranged in front-facing rows that support traditional lecture-based pedagogies. As a result, instructors do not have to make time- and effort-intensive changes to the way their courses are taught in order to use the flexible classroom. Instead, they can make small changes to add active learning.

We are in the second year of a study of flexible classroom spaces funded by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education. This project asks four research questions that investigate the relationships between the instructor, the students, and the classroom: 1) What pedagogy do instructors use in a flexible classroom space? 2) How do instructors take advantage of the instructional affordances (including the movable furniture, movable whiteboards, wall-mounted whiteboards, and wall-mounted monitors) of a flexible classroom? 3) What is the impact of faculty professional development on instructors’ use of flexible classroom spaces? and 4) How does the classroom influence the ways students interpret and engage in group learning activities? In the first year of our study we have developed five research instruments to answer these questions: a three-part classroom observation protocol, an instructor interview protocol, two instructor surveys, and a student survey.

We have collected data from nine courses taught in one of ten flexible classrooms at the University of Michigan during the Fall 2018 semester. Two of these courses were first-year introduction to engineering courses co-taught by two instructors, and the other seven courses were sophomore- and junior-level core technical courses taught by one instructor. Five instructors participated in a faculty learning community that met three times during the semester to discuss active learning, to learn how to make the best use of the flexible classroom affordances, and to plan activities to implement in their courses. In each course we gathered data from the perspective of the instructor (through pre- and post-semester interviews), the researcher (through observations of three class meetings with our observation protocol), and the students (through conducting a student survey at the end of the semester). This poster presents qualitative and qualitative analyses of these data to answer our research questions, along with evidence-based best practices for effectively using a flexible classroom.

Johnson, A. W., & Swenson, J. E. S., & Blackburn, M. W., & Wiwel, C. R., & Hernandez, J. P., & Finelli, C. J. (2019, June), Board 75: Instructor Use of Movable Furniture and Technology in Flexible Classroom Spaces Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32422

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015