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Collaborative Problem Solving in a Virtual Electrical Circuits Class

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Shiny Abraham Seattle University

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Shiny Abraham is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Seattle University. She received the B.E. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from Visveswaraiah Technological University (VTU), India in 2007 and Ph.D. from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA in 2012. Her research interests span the areas of Wireless Communication, Internet of Things (IoT), Optimization using Game Theory, and Engineering Education Research. She is a member of the IEEE and ASEE, a technical program committee member for IEEE Globecom, ICC, ICCCN and VTC conferences, and a reviewer for several international journals and conferences.

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Richard Brown Bankhead III Seattle University

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Richard B Bankhead III is an Instructor and the Innovator in Residence for the Francis Wood, S.J. and Nick Arvanitidis, PhD Innovation Lab in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Seattle University.

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Jennifer M. Dorsey University of Texas at Austin

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Jennifer works as an educational research consultant in addition to her work as a Senior Research Analyst at the Charles A. Dana Center, a grant funded group at the University of Texas at Austin. Jennifer received her doctorate in the Culture, Community, and Education program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her main areas of study were qualitative research, youth and the media, and youth understanding of difference and diversity. Prior to receiving her doctorate at Harvard, Jennifer was a middle school English teacher in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles for six years.

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While online teaching and learning during a pandemic has presented some unique challenges, it has also paved the way for some transformative opportunities. Courses that rely on a mathematical and problem-solving based approach have traditionally benefited from collaborative learning. Collaboration in the classroom provides a structure for student-centered peer instruction, while also fostering connections and building relationships. Research supports the positive impact of collaborative learning, especially for students who are disadvantaged and/or less-prepared- a group that is already disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and online learning. The shift to remote learning has forced us to reimagine collaborative problem-solving in the online space.

In this work, we share our observations and student feedback on the use of Zoom breakout rooms, Microsoft Whiteboard, and a graphics tablet to facilitate collaboration using shared-ink in a synchronous online Electrical Circuits II course. Using the combination of asynchronous content, video conferencing rooms, and collaboration tools, we have been able to replicate, as closely as possible, a collaborative problem-solving experience for students. This paper will document the related pedagogical design, virtual classroom implementation, qualitative student feedback, and classroom observations by an evaluation consultant.

Abraham, S., & Bankhead, R. B., & Dorsey, J. M. (2021, July), Collaborative Problem Solving in a Virtual Electrical Circuits Class Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36810

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