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Civil Engineering Mentored Learning Environment

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Going Viral: Effective Instructional Techniques in an Online Environment

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.312.1 - 25.312.8



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Paper Authors


Blair J. McDonald University of Texas, Pan American

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Associate Professor and Civil Engineering Program Director

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Civil Engineering Mentored Learning EnvironmentAbstractEarly in their college career, many Civil Engineering students experience problems learning.Their problems may be associated with inadequate study skills, insufficient prerequisiteknowledge, an unfamiliar environment or a host of other things that a department can neitherpredict or control. Regardless of the cause, the hurdles to learning must be quickly overcome forstudents to progress in their degree program and be successful. Identifying learning issues midsemester or later during an advising session that is focused on selecting classes for the next termis probably too late to effectively rescue a student in the current term. Problems must beidentified earlier, much earlier, and assistance made available to remediate any identifiedproblems immediately. The Civil Engineering Mentored Learning Environment was establishedto provide students open access to the faculty, upper division and/or graduate student mentorsand a common study area. It is a deliberate attempt to get new students to mingle with maturestudents and faculty without "enrolling" them in a "special" program. The program's keyobjective is to get students to teach each with mentors available to intervene only whennecessary. Started with virtually no funding, laboratory space with 20% utilization was madeavailable to students to study in during the unused 80% of the schedule. The program wasinitiated in the Fall 2011 term. The performance and retention of students observed to frequentthe program will be compared to their peers that are not participating.The motivation for this program and its objectives are discussed. Data collected following thefirst semester of operation will be presented and discussed. Conclusions will be drawn regardingthe programs impact on first year and returning students.

McDonald, B. J. (2012, June), Civil Engineering Mentored Learning Environment Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21070

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