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Comparison of Instructor Perceptions and Student Reflections on Model Eliciting Activities

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Open-Ended Problems and Student Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.351.1 - 22.351.17



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Paper Authors


Nora Siewiorek University of Pittsburgh

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Nora Siewiorek is a graduate student in the Administrative and Policy Studies department in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh where she also received her M.S. in Information Science. Her research interests include: engineering education and educational assessment and evaluation. Her K-12 outreach activities are organizing a local science fair and a hands on workshop in nanotechnology. Her other research interests are: higher education administration, comparative and international education.

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Larry J. Shuman University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Larry J. Shuman is Senior Associate Dean for Academics and Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on improving the engineering educational
experience with an emphasis on assessment of design and problem solving, and the study of the ethical behavior of engineers and engineering managers. A former senior editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, Dr. Shuman is the founding editor of Advances in Engineering Education. He has published widely in the engineering education literature, and is co-author of
Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle (Cambridge University Press). He received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University in
Operations Research and the BSEE from the University of Cincinnati. He is an ASEE Fellow.

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Mary E. Besterfield-Sacre University of Pittsburgh

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Mary Besterfield-Sacre is an Associate Professor and Fulton C. Noss Faculty Fellow in Department of Industrial Engineering, a Center Associate for the Learning Research and Development Center, and the Director for the Engineering Education Research Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Her principal research is in engineering education assessment, which has been funded by the NSF, Department of Education, Sloan Foundation, Engineering Information Foundation, and the NCIIA. Mary’s current research focuses on three distinct but highly correlated areas – innovative product design, entrepreneurship, and modeling. She has served as an associate editor for the JEE and is currently associate editor for the AEE Journal.

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Rosa Goldstein University of Pittsburgh

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Rosa Goldstein is an Undergraduate Industrial Engineering student at the
University of Pittsburgh. Ms. Goldstein has been an active member of the University of Pittsburgh’s
SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) chapter and currently
holds the position as President. She recently studied abroad for a semester in Spain at Saint Louis University in Madrid. She will be starting her career this summer at Accenture and is hoping that her research experience this past year will reinforce her plans to attend graduate school in a few years.

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Comparison of Instructor Perceptions and Student Reflections on Model Eliciting ActivitiesInstructors can impact student learning through their expectations of student achievement1-3. Weexamine how faculty perceptions of concepts learned and skills gained compare to that ofstudents to better understand this premise. Specifically, to investigate this issue, an educationalintervention, model eliciting activity (MEA), was implemented in four engineering courses.MEAs present complex, realistic, open-ended problems to students to reinforce targetedconcepts. Assessment of student understanding was measured through student teams’ writtenresponses to the MEAs, pre-post concept inventories, as well as a comprehensive reflection tool.That reflection tool (RT) serves as both an assessment instrument and educational tool thatprovides an opportunity for students to articulate what they have learned and thus helpsinstructors gain insight into their students’ team performance and the problem solving processes.Our RT questions are in four categories: teamwork, problem solving, professional skills andtechnical concepts learned. Through the analysis of the reflection surveys coupled withinterviews with the faculty implementing the MEAs we address the following questions: Whatare the instructors’ expectations of what students learn or gain from an MEA? And, how doesthis compare to what students actually report about what they have learned or gained from theMEA?This paper reports on the use of MEAs and a reflection survey designed to help studentunderstanding of targeted concepts in four courses. The courses were Biotransport Phenomena,Probability and Statistics for Engineers 1, Probability and Statistics for Engineers 2 andEngineering Economic Analysis. For each course, the instructors were interviewed uponcompletion of the particular MEAs employed in their course using an interview protocol adaptedfrom the students’ RT. The students’ reflection responses and performance were then comparedwith instructors’ perceptions and expectations. This paper explores the similarities anddifferences between instructor and student with regards to technical concepts and professionalskills and investigates potential patterns across the different student cohorts.Bibliography1. Wright, S.P., Horn, S.P. & Sanders, W.L. (1997). “Teacher and Classroom Effects on Student Achievement: Implications for Teacher Evaluation”, Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 11, 57-67.2. Sanders, W.L. & Horn, S.P. (1998). “Research Findings from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) Database: Implications for Educational Evaluation and Research”, Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 12, 247-256.3. Cooper, H.M. (1979). “Pygmalion Grows Up: A Model for Teacher Expectation Communication and Performance Influence”, Review of Educational Research, 49(3), 389-410.

Siewiorek, N., & Shuman, L. J., & Besterfield-Sacre, M. E., & Goldstein, R. (2011, June), Comparison of Instructor Perceptions and Student Reflections on Model Eliciting Activities Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17632

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