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Collaborative Learning In Engineering Classrooms

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.148.1 - 5.148.5



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Enno Koehn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1621

Collaborative Learning in Engineering Classrooms Enno “Ed” Koehn Lamar University


Recently, employers have indicated that they are not totally satisfied with the individualistic approach of the average engineering graduate. This may be due to the fact that, today, in many companies team goals, team contributions, and team rewards often supersede individual actions. In fact, some authorities believe that the development of critical thinking, collaborative learning, communication, and leadership skills is vital for engineering programs as well as for students. The findings of this study suggest that students have accepted the concept of collaborative teaching and learning. As an example, the evaluation of student-teaching presentations was found to be above average with scores greater than “B” for all categories. In addition, comments indicate that a course utilizing the concepts of collaborative learning and teamwork was interesting and informative and could be of assistance to respondents in future endeavors.

I. Introduction

In the past, engineering faculty have often utilized the lecture method for classroom instruction9. However, this approach is generally not the best method to be used if the development of critical thinking, communications, and leadership skills is to be developed in engineering students. In particular, classroom discussion, collaborative learning/teaching, and team experiences are usually required for the enhancement of these techniques. Nevertheless, the concept of group learning and especially discussion may, at times, be difficult to initiate since students have generally competed against each other since the first grade. However, today, teamwork often is more important than individual actions in many companies2. In fact, faculties are being requested to work as teams and place less stress on individual efforts8.

This paper reviews the concept of collaborative learning/teaching and presents the results of an investigation of the perceptions of a group of undergraduate and graduate students. The data for the study was obtained from a survey instrument which was distributed to students enrolled in a civil/construction engineering course that utilized, in part, collaborative learning and was taught for a number of years using this technique. The respondents were requested to rate, on a scale from “A” to “F”, various classroom effectiveness techniques that were used by students during their oral teaching presentations. The methods are those that are thought to enhance the development of critical thinking, communication, and leadership skills in engineering student.

II. Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning may be described as an intellectual endeavor in which individuals act jointly with others in order to become knowledgeable of some particular subject matter. It is Generally known, unfortunately, that from kindergarten through a Ph.D. program students are

Koehn, E. (2000, June), Collaborative Learning In Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8209

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