June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
NSF Grantees Poster Session
23.347.1 - 23.347.12
In this paper, we will present our efforts to create scalable engineering education reformprocess that has a low barrier to adoption by focusing primarily on promoting students’ intrinsicmotivation (IM) to learn. Students who are intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated tolearn are more likely to persist in their learning and perform better. Despite major investments in, andmany promising and proven innovations for, reforming engineering education, many instructors areslow to adopt these innovations because of prohibitive time, money, and training investments. Incontrast, our efforts aim to design the classroom based upon motivational theories such as Self-Determination Theory (SDT), to improve students’ learning by promoting their IM to learn, and toimplement the reform through methods that require minimal or zero additional costs to the faculty. To test this proposed shift in reform paradigm, we have developed pilot programs to implementlow-cost, IM course conversions that minimize instructors’ time investments and mobilize teachingassistants and students as engines for sustainable reform. Based on SDT, these pilot course conversionsaim to promote students’ IM by increasing their sense of autonomy, mastery, purpose, and relatedness.A converted course provides a learning environment designed to give students choices and control overtheir learning while graduate teaching assistants (TAs) focus on supporting these choices. Through thislearning environment, we aim to rouse students' intrinsic motivation to learn, guiding theirdevelopment as life-long learners and empowering them to become proponents of future courseconversions. These pilot course conversions focus on large lecture courses, which typically are difficult tochange because of the scale. For our first pilot course conversion, we chose a traditionallecture/discussion course with two lectures per week taught by the faculty member and a set ofdiscussion sections that met once per week, each taught by a graduate teaching assistant (TA). In ourinitial pilot, we changed two of the discussion sections so that they focused on promoting students’ IMto learn by training and empowering the TAs to change the pedagogy and climate of the course. Webelieve that this strategic change can be effective and sustainable, because it minimizes the cost to thefaculty, it can be easily scaled within the common lecture/discussion format at many large institutions,and it mobilizes students to be agents of change. We have since scaled the course conversion toencompass all students in a course with over 200 students. In this paper, we will explain how we scaledthe initial pilot to give all students choice and control over their learning, while asking the faculty to onlycontinue teaching their lectures as they normally would. We will describe how undergraduate studentsare helping to reform the course. We have evaluated this course conversion with concept inventories, motivation surveys, focusgroups, and exit interviews. We will present part of this evaluation to demonstrate the effectiveness ofthe conversion.
Herman, G. L., & Trenshaw, K. F., & Loui, M. C., & Green, K. A., & Goldberg, D. E. (2013, June), Creating Scalable Reform in Engineering Education Through Low-Cost Intrinsic Motivation Course Conversions of Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19361
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