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Cooperative Learning In A Course On Teaching Engineering

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.304.1 - 6.304.8



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Paper Authors

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Frank Oreovicz

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Phillip Wankat

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3630

Cooperative Learning in a Course on Teaching Engineering

Phillip C. Wankat, Frank S. Oreovicz Purdue University


Graduate classes can be improved by reducing lecture and increasing active learning approaches. Group work, in particular, in class and on projects should be encouraged. It is especially important that professors and other presenters use a number of cooperative group exercises and other active learning approaches in courses and workshops on “Improving the Teaching of Engineering.” New professors are much more likely to use cooperative group and other active learning methods if they are exposed to the methods in courses or workshops on teaching techniques. In this paper we delineate the cooperative group parts of our course, ChE 685, “Educational Methods in Engineering.” Informal cooperative learning groups are used for small group discussions throughout the semester. Formal groups are used for guided design and course projects. Students have input in the grading of their group members for the projects. Many of these approaches, particularly the design of group projects, can easily be translated to technical courses. The comments on student evaluations indicate the usefulness of the cooperative learning experience.

I. Introduction

Teaching styles such as cooperative group learning that encourage students to be active increase student learning.1-5 Since most professors model their first teaching efforts on the methods they are familiar with, prospective professors who experience these active learning methods as students are more likely to try them as professors. However, a large percentage of current engineering graduate students are international students who have not graduated from an ABET-accredited program. They are less likely to have experienced cooperative group teaching methods as undergraduates. When asked if they had done group work in their undergraduate classes, most graduate students in our class who were undergraduates in the United States answered in the affirmative, whereas those who were undergraduates in other countries did not.

There is often a sizable period between one’s undergraduate career and starting as an assistant professor. Cooperative group work in graduate courses will improve the education of graduate students and serve as a model the students can draw on after they graduate and start teaching. And for students who do not experience these teaching methods as undergraduates, their only chance to use coop group instruction methods will be in graduate school. When asked if they had done group work in graduate courses, a few students raised their hands, but the majority did not.

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Oreovicz, F., & Wankat, P. (2001, June), Cooperative Learning In A Course On Teaching Engineering Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9045

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