June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Educational Research and Methods
Multiple efforts were undertaken to improve engineering professors’ teaching approaches. A review of literature revealed that engineering professors’ teaching approaches improved the most when they fully engaged in educational research. Professors’ teaching approaches significantly evolved from a knowledge-centered and teacher-focused orientation to a learner-centered and student-focused orientation when they designed and implemented their own evidence-based instructional strategies in their classrooms, collected data from their students, analyzed the data collected, and reported the findings in academic settings. Professors’ self-reflection on educational research and meta-cognition in evidence-based pedagogies were central, and instrumental, for their changes in approaches to teaching.
Based on this theoretical framework, four engineering professors and four learning scientists have worked together over two years to transform the culture of engineering education at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in US. The overarching goal is to increase the historically underrepresented students’ participation in STEM fields by enhancing the quality of the undergraduate engineering education at the selected HBCU. This three-year project is funded by the department of education and aimed at cultivating evidence-based pedagogies in engineering undergraduate education in the selected HBCU.
Four professors in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Engineering Technology designed evidence-based instructional strategies that are learner-centered and student-focused. The learning scientists consulted the professors. Among the strategies designed and implemented are student-led recitation hours, discussion of current events, peer-teaching, peer-tutorial design, and peer-courseware design.
Our team designed and implemented evaluation instruments to capture the impact of the newly implemented strategies on students’ learning experiences and outcomes, including content understanding, life-long learning skills, and engineering attitudes. The data collected were analyzed and the findings were reported. Our professors iterated their design efforts. We anticipate that the professors’ active engagement in educational research will transform their teaching approaches. The main research question is “What are the changes in engineering professors’ approaches to teaching before and after the project activities?”
To answer the research question, we employed two evaluation instruments; an Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) and a semi-structured interview protocol. ATI is a five-point Likert-scale with 16 items, designed to capture the academics’ approaches to teaching. Four professors completed ATI two times, once before the project (Spring 2015) and once after they taught two semesters (Summer 2016). ATI generates quantitative data. The interview protocol was used to collect qualitative data from the participants about their approaches to teaching. We conducted two interviews with each participant at the same time they completed ATI. Each interview lasted around 45 minutes. We recorded the conversations and transcribed verbatim. The constant-comparative method was used in the qualitative analyses. Each professor’s teaching approaches in Spring 2015 and in Summer 2016 were documented and compared.
In this paper, we will report our project activities, the research design, and findings from the first year. Both of the quantitative and qualitative findings reveal that participating engineering professors have already improved their teaching approaches from a knowledge-centered and teacher-focused orientation to learner-centered and student-focused orientation.
Yalvac, B., & Ketsetzi, A., & Peng, X., & Cui, S., & Li, L., & Zhang, Y., & Eseryel, D., & Eyupoglu, T. F., & Yuan, T. (2017, June), Cultivating Evidence-Based Pedagogies in STEM Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28092
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