April 30, 2020
April 30, 2020
October 10, 2020
Tackling complex engineering problems requires a skill-set that students can learn and achieve through proper training in learning environments that cultivate critical thinking. One of the particular courses in which mastery in learning requires higher-order thinking is the nonlinear electrical circuit course offered to electrical and computer engineering students. Since analyzing the operation of nonlinear circuits often requires making assumptions, verifying or rejecting the assumptions and drawing conclusions, students usually struggle with making a clear connection between different steps of the circuit analysis or applying these steps to solving new problems.
Within the framework of a fully flipped circuit course, we studied the effect of adding take-home tests to the course on the final exam grades of the enrolled students. The take-home tests were synthesis level circuit problems that were usually composed of a few distinct concepts learned in the course. Solving these problems required higher-order thinking, and students were encouraged to work on these problems in groups.
In addition to the total final exam grades, students’ scores on an exam problem that was specially designed to assess their abilities to solve conceptually challenging questions were included in this study. Students’ feedback on their perception of the effectiveness of the take-home tests on their learning was also collected in mid and end of quarter surveys.
The results of our study show that during the Fall and Winter quarters of the 2018-2019 academic year, the average final exam grade for students who took the take-home tests was 16% higher than the average for students who opted out of the take-home tests. Furthermore, out of the total students who correctly answered the conceptually challenging questions on the final exams of the Fall and Winter quarters, 68% and 65% had participated in the offered take-home tests, respectively.
Baghdadchi, S., & Bristol, R., & Klement, L., & Hadjipieris, P. A., & Serslev, S. G., & Sandoval, C. L. (2020, April), Cultivating critical thinking habits in Electrical Engineering flipped classrooms Paper presented at Proceedings of the 2020 ASEE PSW Section Conference, canceled, Davis, California. https://www.jee.org/36037
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