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Creating Environments for Critical Thinking: Building Upon Multiple Choice Problems in Electrical Engineering Education

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

New Developments in ECE

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32559

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32559

Download Count

41

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Paper Authors

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Saharnaz Baghdadchi University of California, San Diego

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Saharnaz Baghdadchi is an Assistant Teaching Professor at UC San Diego. She is interested in scholarly teaching and uses active learning techniques to help students achieve expert-like level of thinking. She guides students in bridging the gap between facts and usable knowledge to solve complex engineering problems.

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Zoe Nemerever University of California San Diego

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Zoe Nemerever is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of California San Diego.

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Paul Andreas Hadjipieris University of California, San Diego

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Paul Hadjipieris is an instructional designer at the University of California San Diego. He holds an MA, in history from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. His research agenda is on emerging educational technologies and their application to the classroom. He is deeply involved in SoTL research at the University of California San Diego and currently working with faculty on course design and manuscript construction.

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Sheena Ghanbari Serslev

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Carolyn L. Sandoval University of California, San Diego

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Dr. Sandoval is the Associate Director of the Teaching + Learning Commons at the University of California, San Diego. She earned a PhD in Adult Education-Human Resource Development. Her research interests include adult learning and development, faculty development, qualitative methods of inquiry, and social justice education.

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Abstract

Fostering critical thinking is an important part of any course design in engineering education. It needs deliberate attention, and the implemented interventions must be routinely monitored and assessed. The need for analysis skills is prominent in a wide range of lower division and upper division engineering courses. One of these courses that in particular, requires strong critical thinking skills is the analog circuit course in which student learn about nonlinear circuit elements such as diodes, bipolar junction transistors, field effect transistors and their applications in designing functional circuits. Electrical and Computer Engineering students taking the course are required to make logical assumptions about the operation of these circuit elements and justify their assumptions based on the calculated results. Students struggle with analyzing the networks with a combination of these nonlinear circuit elements and relating them to the design of functional circuits as it demands a higher level of understanding. In this paper, we present the study of using take-home tests in addition to integrating Peer Instruction through multiple-choice questions, and the guided quizzes to the lower division analog circuits course to promote critical thinking among electrical and computer engineering students. This study ran through the Winter and Spring quarters in 2018. The survey data were collected at three points through both quarters to monitor the students’ perception of the interventions and the effectiveness of the techniques. In addition to the survey data, the students’ responses to the challenging and authentic problems on the midterm and final exams and their grades were used to assess the effectiveness of the implemented techniques in improving critical thinking skills and to make changes to the design of the course at the end of the first offering of the redesigned course. According to our results, 86% of the students found the take-home tests and 76% found the guided quizzes effective in developing a profound understanding of the course topics in the second quarter. Compared to the student responses in the first quarter in which 65% of the participants mentioned that to be able to solve exam problems, they must have seen a similar circuit beforehand, in the second quarter 69% agreed that they could solve a circuit problem without seeing a similar problem beforehand. The survey findings alongside an analysis of student exam grades provide strong evidence that the implemented interventions have supported the development of problem-solving and critical thinking skills among Electrical Engineering students.

Baghdadchi, S., & Nemerever, Z., & Hadjipieris, P. A., & Serslev, S. G., & Sandoval, C. L. (2019, June), Creating Environments for Critical Thinking: Building Upon Multiple Choice Problems in Electrical Engineering Education Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32559

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