June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
New Engineering Educators
11.388.1 - 11.388.14
Decision-making: What does it have to do with my teaching?
Engineering education is a complex design activity where educators create a range of teaching artifacts including course curricula, classroom policies, lecture notes, exams, and timelines for student group projects. In order to design such artifacts, engineering faculty must make a series of teaching decisions, each of which can impact their students’ learning and engagement with course activities. Given the importance of decision-making in engineering education, we hope that by beginning to characterize engineering educator decisions, educators will gain a greater awareness of decision-making by recognizing, characterizing and anticipating decision points. In this paper, we report the results of an exploratory study of engineering faculty’s decisions as expressed during the instructional development process.
Dr. Andy Nguyen is a new engineering faculty member starting his first job at a large university. During his time as a graduate student he mostly worked on research and hasn’t taught a class for a couple of years. Now, as he starts his career as a faculty member, he is preparing to teach a course on computational fluid dynamics. Although he attended some teaching workshops and read up on teaching practices, he feels overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching. The department chair has given him a sample syllabus and some suggestions on textbooks, but Dr. Nguyen still has to determine how to plan the day to day lessons to teach. He wants to make sure that the classes he teaches are effective for the students, but also since several of his colleagues will visit the class this first quarter, he wants to make a good impression on them too.
Dr. Doris Johnson teaches a required engineering course with over 100 students. She has taught the class a number of times before but this time has noticed that her students don’t seem to be paying attention. During the lectures, they talk amongst themselves, a few fall asleep, and as the semester progresses, she notices that attendance is slipping. Dr. Johnson knows that this material is essential for the students’ future success in their coursework and careers as engineers. She’s afraid that the students will not be prepared and that this may reflect poorly on her. Thinking about the class lectures, she wonders what she can do differently to better engage her students both this quarter and next time she teaches the class.
Each of these scenarios highlight some common challenges that engineering educators face. Engineering education is a complex design activity where educators create a range of teaching artifacts including course curricula, classroom policies, lecture notes, exams, and timelines for student group projects. In order to design such artifacts, engineering faculty must make a series of teaching decisions, each of which can impact their students’ learning and engagement with course activities.
Huang, Y., & Eliot, M., & Turns, J., & Rose, E., & Yellin, J. (2006, June), Decision Making: What Does It Have To Do With My Teaching? Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1241
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