June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
Educational Research and Methods
14.305.1 - 14.305.23
Capturing Differences of Engineering Design Learning Environments by Means of VaNTH Observation System
Keywords: Learning Environments, VaNTH Observation System, Engineering Design.
Introduction to Engineering Design (EI-100) is a first-semester 3 credit required course for every engineering program of Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP). Course content and classroom activities are divided into three, two-hour sessions (Modeling, Concepts, and Laboratory) per week. Students have six different EI-100 facilitators (an instructor and teaching assistant for each session). UDLAP’s engineering students have in EI-100 a great opportunity for a multidisciplinary collaborative experience. EI-100 is a team-taught course that uses active, collaborative and cooperative learning, which has been a major player in UDLAP’s efforts of engineering education reform since 2001. However, EI-100 could be improved taking into account technological advances and recent research on human learning and cognitive processes that underlie expert performances.
The How People Learn (HPL) framework was used to redesign EI-100 to further promote an interactive classroom while integrating multiple formative assessments by means of Tablet PC technologies. The VaNTH Observation System (VOS) is an assessment tool developed to capture qualitative and quantitative classroom observation data from teaching and learning experiences of the bioengineering classroom. VOS is a four-part system that incorporates the elements of HPL framework and uses four recurring methods of collecting classroom data: recording student-teacher interactions, recording student academic engagement, recording narrative notes of classroom events, and rating specific indicators of effective teaching.
VOS was used to systematically assess HPL framework implementation in EI-100 classrooms. Observers measured differences in classroom experiences resulting from the innovations and redesigned learning environments. Over the course of the past year, three observers trained in VOS sat in EI-100 classrooms and observed 9 instructors, both junior and senior level, in over 60 class sessions from two different sections and the three different EI-100 sessions. Observers conducted a minimum of six observations per class. This past semester, observers achieved a 70 percent inter-rater reliability in using the VOS.
EI-100 redesign significantly (p < 0.05) increased student participation. Formative assessment and feedback were more common and rapid. Facilitators utilized the information gained through real-time formative assessment to tailor instruction to meet student needs. Particularly important were opportunities to make students’ thinking visible and give them chances to revise, as well as opportunities for “what if” thinking. VOS captured differences in EI-100 classroom experiences. These differences may be used to measure levels of “HPLness” of a lesson. Moreover VOS clearly captured differences among facilitators’ teaching styles and identified the effects of EI- 100 three different sessions. In addition, VOS generated detailed feedback that facilitators may use to self-assess and further refine EI-100 redesign.
Gazca, L., & Palou, E., & López-Malo, A., & Garibay, J. M. (2009, June), Capturing Differences Of Engineering Design Learning Environments By Means Of The Vanth Observation System Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5159
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