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Connecting Specific Knowledge Areas Throughout Core Courses in Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Student Learning and Success

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Catelyn A. Evans Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Catelyn Evans is a first year student at Texas A&M University pursuing a M.S. in Biological and Agricultural Engineering. She gained her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Currently playing an active role in Dr. Janie Moore's Post-Harvest Engineering and EDucation (PHEED) Lab has allowed her to gain hands on skills in educating, designing, and problem solving.

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Ezekiel Joseph McReynolds Texas A&M University


Hamidreza Sharifan Texas A & M University Orcid 16x16

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I am a graduate student research assistant in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A and M University. I have several years of professional experience in the field of environmental engineering/Science in Europe and the USA. Currently, I am working with a professional research team of Post-Harvest Engineering and Education (PHEED) at Texas A & M. My research goal is centered on the interaction and environmental fate of nanoparticles with crops and vegetables.

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Janie M. Moore Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Janie McClurkin Moore is an Assistant Professor in the Biological and Agricultural Engineering Department at Texas A&M University in College Station. A native of Columbus, Ohio, she attended North Carolina A&T State University where she received a B.S. in Bio Environmental Engineering in 2006. She then began pursuing her graduate education at Purdue University in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, completing her Ph.D. in 2015. Her primary research areas include 1) mycotoxin risk assessment and treatment in stored grains and 2) innovate instructional strategies for Biological and Agricultural Engineering students.

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Biological and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) programs across the U.S. are aimed at teaching engineering principles and concepts of biology as they apply to both agricultural and biological systems. There is a clear definition of what the undergraduate curricula should instill in students prior to entering into the workforce as defined by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. However, individual institutions determine the exact knowledge concepts within the coursework offered for students to be successful and prepared for their careers. Understanding and classifying the knowledge gaps in the progression of BAE courses can lead to applying the proper integrating techniques in order to balance and equilibrate the prospective teaching modules. Therefore, in this work we examined specific knowledge concepts considered essential within the curriculum at a large southwestern University’s Bio-based engineering program. The research aimed to understand the level of students’ knowledge and suggest recommendations for a comprehensive degree plan. The study used a survey in order to evaluate knowledge areas required for discipline specific core courses by a program based assessment of faculty who have taught through at least one academic year. The survey results identified the level of understanding for each specific knowledge area students must have or will gain during a particular core course. From the survey results, the knowledge level for each specific knowledge area (KAs) was averaged for all courses, the top, middle and bottom knowledge areas and ranked. Knowledge level averages were divided into three overarching areas, 1) knowledge completely taught in the course, 2) previous knowledge that we expect students to know and use, but they will learn at some level within the course and 3) information that students should know and is heavily used during the course. Rankings of the level of knowledge were used to as assessment methods to connect courses and knowledge areas. It was determined that while specific knowledge areas, key to the degree program, were found throughout the core courses. There were other specific knowledge areas that we expected students to have previous knowledge of but they were not being taught in any of the core courses. Knowledge areas were then fit into five common core subject areas to identify the distribution of knowledge we expect for a BAE student. A previously identified specific knowledge concept of aeration, important for understanding physical properties of agricultural commodities, grain drying, and storage systems, ranked zero meaning that students are not receiving this knowledge in any of the course curriculum courses. Overall the highest ranked knowledge area was for students to be able to identify, formulate, and solve BAEN related problems. The research project’s results are expected to enhance faculty, researchers, and administrators’ understanding of the role their course plays in education of the students. These results will guide and assist in the development of future supplemental trainings for students. Likewise, this will allow us to draw connections between classes and help students understand why they need to know the information being taught.

Evans, C. A., & McReynolds, E. J., & Sharifan, H., & Moore, J. M. (2019, June), Connecting Specific Knowledge Areas Throughout Core Courses in Biological and Agricultural Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32537

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