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Comparison of Direct and Indirect Assessment of a Summer Engineering Economy Course taught with Active Learning Techniques

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Engineering Economics New Frontiers

Tagged Division

Engineering Economy

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.377.1 - 26.377.14



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Paper Authors


Simon Thomas Ghanat P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Simon Ghanat is an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.). He received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Arizona State University. His research interests are in Engineering Education and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. He previously taught at Bucknell University and Arizona State University.

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Kenneth Brannan The Citadel

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Ken Brannan is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel. He has served as Chair of the First-Year Programs Division and the Environmental Engineering Division, as well as President of the Southeastern Section of ASEE. He earned B.C.E. and M.S. degrees from Auburn University, and a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. His interests include wastewater treatment and teaching and learning in engineering education.

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Ronald W. Welch The Citadel

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Ron Welch (P.E.) received his B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign in 1990 and 1999, respectively. He became the Dean of Engineering at The Citadel on 1 July 2011. Prior to his current position, he was the Department Head of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler from Jan 2007 to June 2011. Welch served in the Army Corps of Engineers for over 24 years, including 11 years on the faculty at the United States Military Academy.

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Kevin C Bower P.E. The Citadel

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Dr. Kevin Bower is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel (Charleston, S.C.). Dr. Bower’s teaching research interests are in improving active learning environments and the development of classroom pedagogy to improve moral development in engineering students.

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Comparison of Direct and Indirect Assessment of a Summer Engineering Economy Course taught with Active Learning TechniquesWhen a student has an inaccurate perception of how well critical course material is beingassimilated, it can lead to an unexpected performance level at the close of a course. An effectivestrategy for addressing this is to provide a variety of active learning techniques that engagestudents and focus on their different learning styles. In addition, using a variety of activelearning techniques can be especially important when teaching a class in a compressed timeformat such as is often used in summer classes.In this paper, data from two class sections of engineering economy taught in a compressedsummer term were examined to see how well the student’s self-assessment of the courseobjectives compared to direct assessment measures. Teaching techniques used in these classesinclude incorporating learning objectives directly into the teaching of course material, bothstudent and instructor-generated crossword puzzles, student-generated Pictionary, clickers,starting each class with a song about money, using real money and magnets to illustrateapplications of different interest factors, fuzziest point paper, think-pair-share, individual andgroup problem solving, brainstorming, case studies, debates, and a number of other usefultechniques. The student’s self-assessment of learning objectives was measured through a surveyand the direct assessment was done through the use of test and final exam questions. To assessthe correlation between self-assessment and direct assessment, two-tailed tests at a level ofsignificance of 0.05 with 50 degrees of freedom were performed. A correlation was found to besignificant at the 0.01 level and so overall, it appears that the students had an accurate perceptionof their own course performance. The paper will discuss the student self-assessment of thecourse objectives, the direct assessment of course objectives, and the teaching techniques used toenhance the course.

Ghanat, S. T., & Brannan, K., & Welch, R. W., & Bower, K. C. (2015, June), Comparison of Direct and Indirect Assessment of a Summer Engineering Economy Course taught with Active Learning Techniques Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23716

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