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Comparing Muddiest Points and Learning Outcomes for Campus and Distance Students in a Composite Materials Course

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 3

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Matthew Cavalli Western Michigan University

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Dr. Cavalli is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Affairs in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

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Students in a senior-level elective course on composite materials were required to submit at least one muddiest point per week. The instructor asked that the muddiest points submitted not be related to specific homework problems; apart from that, students were encouraged to submit questions by the end of each week related to whatever aspect of the course happened to be most confusing/intriguing at the time. A compiled list of instructor responses was posted by the middle of the next week. Over the course of the semester, muddiest points submitted were broadly characterized by the instructor as being related to confusions on lecture material vs. extensions of lecture material to new topics as well as dealing with current topics vs. looking ahead to upcoming topics in the course.

Enrollment in the course consisted of both an on-campus cohort and a distance cohort to whom the lectures were delivered asynchronously. The class included a term project focused on replacing a part currently in service with a similar part fabricated from composite materials as well as weekly homework assignments and in-class exams. All students were given pre- and post-tests to gauge learning gains over the course and an end-of-term survey was administered related to student perceptions and preferences. Performance results, preference results, and classifications of submitted muddiest points will be compared between the on-campus and distance cohorts. Differences in demographics (age, work experience, etc.) are expected to potentially affect the value that each cohort puts on different aspects of the course as well as the muddiest points for which they seek additional clarification.

Cavalli, M. (2018, June), Comparing Muddiest Points and Learning Outcomes for Campus and Distance Students in a Composite Materials Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30205

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