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Catalyzing Active Learning: Implementing Active Learning Across an Engineering and Science College

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Works in Progress: Classroom Practice

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

10

DOI

10.18260/p.26460

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26460

Download Count

244

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Paper Authors

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Tracy A. Bibelnieks Ph.D. University of Minnesota Duluth

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Kristen S. Gorman University of Minnesota

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Brian D. Gute University of Minnesota Duluth

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Brian Gute holds B.A. degrees in Chemistry and English from the University of Minnesota Duluth and an M.S. in Toxicology from the University of Minnesota. He is an instructor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he primarily teaches freshman-level introductory and general chemistry courses. Prior to joining the University of Minnesota Duluth faculty, he spent four years at the Natural Resources Research Institute as a Research Fellow in the Center for Water and the Environment engaged in computational toxicology research. His current research interests include inquiry-based laboratory activities and the flipped classroom.

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Joshua W. Hamilton University of Minnesota Duluth

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Elizabeth M. Hill University of Minnesota Duluth

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Dr. Hill is focused on active learning teaching methods and research for engineering education. After receiving her Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Dr. Hill spent several years working on polymer processing research and advanced materials manufacturing. She has an extensive background in system development for water purification as well as membrane manufacturing. She is an avid hiker and enjoys spending time with her family in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area of Minnesota.

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Alison B. Hoxie University of Minnesota Duluth

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Dr. Alison B. Hoxie is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her education includes a B.A. in Natural Science from the College of Saint Benedict (1999), a B.S.M.E (2001) and a Ph.D. (2007) from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. She has held positions as a consulting engineering in power and energy sector, and as an Instructor at the University of Utah. Her current research focuses on cost effective methods for efficient utilization of biomass-derived oils in combustion applications.

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David A. Saftner University of Minnesota Duluth

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Andrea J. Schokker University of Minnesota Duluth

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Dr. Schokker, P.E., LEED AP, is a Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Her research focuses on design and materials related improvements in prestressed concrete including sustainability and corrosion resistance.

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Pete Willemsen University of Minnesota Duluth

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Abstract

This Work in Progress (WIP) paper describes efforts to increase active learning in a college of engineering and science. From the beginning of the project, engineering and science faculty and teaching consultants from the University teaching center collaborated on improving current active learning efforts of faculty in the college. The transition to active learning is being driven through a cohort model, thus growing the adoption of active learning organically. The cohort model socializes the concepts of adopting active learning in small groups. These small groups will grow in future years to include more faculty each year. The paper describes the current active learning methods and improvements within the initial cohort as a result of the program. Assessment techniques designed to quantify effectiveness of increasing active learning throughout the college are described. Finally, methods of assessing faculty attitudes towards active learning are presented. A faculty cohort, formed in spring, 2015, was charged with increasing active learning across the college. For one semester, the faculty cohort worked with a University teaching consultant to research essential components of and methods of implementing active learning. Over the summer, the faculty cohort planned changes to increase active learning in their individual classes and implemented the changes in the fall, 2015. An introduction to active learning workshop will occur in fall, 2015 and repeat every semester. Additionally, beginning in spring, 2016, workshops focusing on specific methods of active learning will be offered. These workshops, as well as encouraging faculty to visit the cohort’s classrooms, will lead to development of future cohorts and increase the number of active learning classes. This project’s goals are to improve student outcomes by increasing student retention in engineering and science, increasing underrepresented minority student populations, and providing horizontal and vertical integration throughout the college. Current efforts focus on assessment of the current state of these goals in the college. Data on student retention and minority populations are currently recorded at the department, college, and university level, simplifying measurement active learning’s impact. Current horizontal and vertical program integration will be assessed beginning in fall, 2015 through senior exit interview surveys and in spring, 2016 through pre-tests assessing pre-requisite course material retention. This is baseline data and the authors are not expecting the current state to reflect as much horizontal and vertical integration as future assessments. Student outcomes will be assessed at a program level through student attitude surveys, quizzes in capstone courses on pre-requisite material, and standardized assessments available through the Assessment Commons. Additionally, individual classes will assess student outcomes through performance on equivalent homework and exam problems. Finally, faculty perception of active learning throughout the college will be assessed through attitude surveys beginning in fall, 2015. These assessment methods will continue as the college increases the percentage of its class taught using active techniques.

Bibelnieks, T. A., & Gorman, K. S., & Gute, B. D., & Hamilton, J. W., & Hill, E. M., & Hoxie, A. B., & Saftner, D. A., & Schokker, A. J., & Willemsen, P. (2016, June), Catalyzing Active Learning: Implementing Active Learning Across an Engineering and Science College Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26460

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