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Cross-cultural active learning: Preliminary Results of a Case Study of an American Professor Teaching in China

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Conference

2012 ASEE International Forum

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 9, 2012

Start Date

June 9, 2012

End Date

June 10, 2012

Conference Session

Track 1 - Session 2 - Student Development

Tagged Topic

Track 1 - Student Development

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

17.12.1 - 17.12.9

DOI

10.18260/1-2--17070

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/17070

Download Count

80

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Paper Authors

biography

Susan M Lord University of San Diego

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Susan M. Lord received a B.S. from Cornell University and the M.S. and Ph.D. from Stanford University. She is currently Professor and Coordinator of Electrical Engineering at the University of San Diego. Her teaching and research interests include electronics, optoelectronics, materials science, first year engineering courses, feminist and liberative pedagogies, engineering student persistence, and student autonomy. Her research has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). Dr. Lord is active in the engineering education community including serving as General Co-Chair of the 2006 Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference, on the FIE Steering Committee, and as President of the IEEE Education Society for 2009-2010. She is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education. She and her coauthors were awarded the 2011 Wickenden Award for the best paper in the Journal of Engineering Education. In Spring 2012, Dr. Lord spent a sabbatical at Southeast University in Nanjing, China teaching and doing research.

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biography

Yongming Tang Southeast University

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Prof. Tang has get the bachler, master and Ph.D degree from Southeast University in Nanjing, China. Now he is the deputy dean of School of Electronic Science and Engineering, who is in charge of the organization on the curriculum for undergraduate students. He is also organize two contests in Southeast University.

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biography

rong wang Southeast University

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Rong Wang was born in 1976.
She received her BS, MS and
PhD degrees in School of
Information Science and Engineering
in 1998, 2001 and 2008,
respectively, from Southeast
University, China. Since 2001,
she has been with the School of
Information Science and Engineering,
Southeast University.
Her research interests are RF
and mixed-signal integrated
circuits design.

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biography

Shen Xu Southeast University, China

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Shen Xu received the B.S. and Ph.D. degree in electronics engineering from Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 2002 and 2011, respectively.
He joined the School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing, China, in 2011, where he is currently a lecturer.
His research interests include nonlinear modeling of power converters, simulations, and power integration.

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Abstract

Active learning is an effective pedagogy in engineering education in North America andEurope. How well do these techniques work in the culture of China? This work exploresthat question through a case study of an American professor teaching Electronics in Englishat a university in China to students whose native language is Chinese. The students aresophomores from the Honors College, School of Information Sciences and Engineering, andSchool of Electronic Sciences and Engineering.At the first class meeting, the instructor introduced herself and her teaching methodsincluding active learning techniques such as paired problem solving in class and cooperativelearning homework teams. She discussed the syllabus in detail including learning objectives,homework teams, and grading policies. She asked the students to introduce themselvesincluding a fact about themselves. Then the instructor gave an overview of the coursematerial. During the last part of class, students worked with their “helpful neighbor” onreview problems from the Circuits class they had all taken the previous semester.To learn more about the students and their expectations, the instructor asked them tocomplete a survey before she began the first class. They completed another survey at the endof the two-hour session reflecting on the experience. Of the forty-four students whosubmitted the survey, 61% said they chose to take the course to experience a differentteaching method. Other common reasons were to improve English (34%) and to prepare forstudy abroad (32%). When asked what they expected would be different about this course,the most common response was the teaching method (43%). 30% thought the in-classatmosphere would be different and more interactive. The most commonly cited challengewas, as expected, the language (64%). Another 18% specifically mentioned being worriedabout understanding technical terminology in English. Half of the students hope to improvetheir English by taking this course. Thirty-nine percent said they hoped to gain knowledge ofthe course material. These sophomores are already thinking about their future aftergraduation as 93% plan to go to graduate school with most (68%) hoping to study abroad.At the end of the first class meeting, 88% of the students said they could understand theinstructor well. One-third said it was more difficult than expected. When asked about thebest and most challenging parts of the first meeting, students gave a variety of responses.The vast majority (79%) commented positively on the communication in the classroomhighlighting the introductions, the relaxed and active atmosphere, and interaction betweenteacher and students. One-third particularly liked the self-introductions but 7% found thesechallenging. Forty-eight percent cited English language problems as a challenge with 29%specifically mentioning English terminology. Ten percent admitted that they had forgottensome material from the previous circuits class so had trouble with the sample problems.In this paper, we will discuss the findings from these surveys as well as reflections of theinstructor and the Deputy Deans of the students’ College and Schools about this cross-cultural active learning experience in engineering education.

Lord, S. M., & Tang, Y., & wang, R., & Xu, S. (2012, June), Cross-cultural active learning: Preliminary Results of a Case Study of an American Professor Teaching in China Paper presented at 2012 ASEE International Forum, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--17070

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