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Design for Impact: Reimagining Inquiry-Based Activities for Effectiveness and Ease of Faculty Adoption

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.366.1 - 24.366.4

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Paper Authors

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Margot A. Vigeant Bucknell University

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University


Katharyn E. K. Nottis Bucknell University

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Dr. Nottis is an Educational Psychologist and Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her research has focused on meaningful learning in science and engineering education, approached from the perspective of Human Constructivism. She has authored several publications and given numerous presentations on the generation of analogies, misconceptions, and facilitating learning in science and engineering education. She has been involved in collaborative research projects focused on conceptual learning in chemistry, chemical engineering, seismology, and astronomy.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

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 Standard  lecture-­‐based  educational  approaches  are  of  limited  effectiveness  in  repair  of  students’  misconceptions  as  much  as  it  does  at  improving  students’  computational  abilities.    Educational  efforts  to  improve  conceptual  learning  using  approaches  such  as  inquiry-­‐based  activities  have  been  effective,  but  have  not  been  widely  adopted  by  engineering  educators.    The  goal  of  this  work  is  three-­‐fold:  First,  we  will  re-­‐create  our  inquiry-­‐based  activities  for  heat  transfer  by  specifically  modifying  them  in  ways  that  make  them  easier  for  faculty  to  implement  in  the  classroom;  Second,  we  will  measure  the  effectiveness  of  these  modified  activities  as  they  are  implemented  by  our  partner  institutions;  Third,  we  will  provide  both  the  full  menu  of  activities  and  the  effectiveness  data  to  faculty  broadly  and  monitor  the  adoption  “in  the  wild”.      We  have  completed  year  one  of  this  project,  in  which  we  surveyed  faculty  on  the  ways  in  which  they  found  the  original  activities  challenging  to  implement.    The  original  activities  rely  largely  on  student  experiment,  and  faculty  comments  discussed  how  money,  space,  and  time  all  constrained  their  ability  to  assign  experiments  to  small  groups  of  students.    Based  on  this  feedback,  we  have  produced  four  new  variations  on  the  inquiry  based  activities.    These  involve:  a)  replacing  the  students’  experiments  with  simulations;  b)  replacing  the  students’  experiments  with  the  students  observing  the  experiment  as  an  in-­‐class  demonstration;  c)  the  students’  watching  the  simulation  as  an  in-­‐class  demonstration  and  d)  replacing  both  simulation  and  experiment  with  an  in-­‐class  thought  experiment.    These  variations  will  be  tested  in  different  institutions  over  the  course  of  the  coming  academic  year.    

Vigeant, M. A., & Prince, M. J., & Nottis, K. E. K., & Koretsky, M. (2014, June), Design for Impact: Reimagining Inquiry-Based Activities for Effectiveness and Ease of Faculty Adoption Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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