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Characterizing the Alignment in Faculty and Student Beliefs

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Understanding the Discipline of Engineering

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Edward J. Berger Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Edward Berger is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, joining Purdue in August 2014. He has been teaching mechanics for nearly 20 years, and has worked extensively on the integration and assessment of specific technology interventions in mechanics classes. He was one of the co-leaders in 2013-2014 of the ASEE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for mechanics educators across the country. His current research focuses on student problem-solving processes and use of worked examples, change models and evidence-based teaching practices in engineering curricula, and the role of non-cognitive and affective factors in student academic outcomes and overall success.

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Gireesh Guruprasad Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Gireesh Guruprasad is a graduate student at Purdue University. As part of his research, he explores factors that affect the Professional Formation of Engineers, based on students beliefs and preferences and the beliefs of the faculty who teach them. Gireesh obtained his Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing his Masters degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering.

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Ryan R. Senkpeil Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Ryan Senkpeil is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Purdue University who's research is focused on non-cognitive factors that impact engineering student performance and developing interventions to improve students' non-cognitive factors.

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This research paper investigates faculty members’ actions in a classroom setting in light of their personal beliefs about teaching and learning, and their relationships to student beliefs. The research question is: to what extent is alignment between faculty and student beliefs about teaching and learning related to faculty pedagogical activities and actions? Very little prior work integrates student-side and instructor-side preferences and actions, and this paper extends our understanding of this alignment. We expect that a clearer understanding of the alignment between faculty and students may help explain student academic performance. This paper focuses on characterizing the alignment, while our future research explores its relationship to student outcomes.

Faculty and students in a mechanical engineering program at a large Midwestern university completed various survey instruments for this study. Faculty (n = 32) completed the Index of Learning Styles (ILS; learning preferences along four sub-scales), the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI; teaching preferences along two axes), and a pedagogical index (PI; extent of use of specific pedagogical and assessment approaches). Students (n = 296) completed the ILS, and each of these students was enrolled in at least one course with a faculty member who also completed the survey. As a result, an ILS misalignment score was calculated for each student-faculty pair. The ILS misalignment scores, as well as the ATI and PI scores, were categorized relative to their respective means for analysis. We use descriptive statistics and mean comparisons (ANOVAs) to examine the data.

Our data analysis reveals the following key insights about our research question. Faculty-student ILS misalignment is largest along the active-reflective ILS dimension. In turn, faculty who are more misaligned with their students (in the ILS sense) tend to lecture more. In our data, ILS faculty raw scores and ATI results do not appear to be strongly correlated. ATI results suggest that faculty who are more instructor focused than average tend to use active and collaborative learning activities, and formative evaluation to a lesser extent. Conversely, faculty who are more student focused than average use lecture as a teaching tool to a lesser extent. The paper concludes with a higher-level discussion of two key issues: (i) what are perceived barriers to being more student focused in pedagogical activities, and (ii) can we discern cause and effect relationships among the ILS, ATI, and PI measures we collected?

Berger, E. J., & Guruprasad, G., & Senkpeil, R. R. (2017, June), Characterizing the Alignment in Faculty and Student Beliefs Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28028

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: © 2017 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