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Determining Impact of a Course on Teaching in Engineering

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Educating Students for Professional Success

Tagged Divisions

New Engineering Educators, Graduate Studies, and Student

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.449.1 - 22.449.22



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Paper Authors


Robert J. Gustafson Ohio State University

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Robert J. Gustafson, P.E., Ph.D., is Honda Professor for Engineering Education and Director of the Engineering Education Innovation Center in the College of Engineering and a Professor of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering at The Ohio State University. He has previously served at Ohio State as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and Student Services (1999 - 2008) and Department Chair of Food Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department (1987 - 1999). After being awarded his Ph.D. degree from Michigan State in 1974, he joined the faculty of the Agricultural Engineering Department at the University of Minnesota where he served until 1987. Dr. Gustafson’s scholarship included work in grain quality as affected by drying and storage, finite element modeling, but he is most known for his work in electrical power applications in agriculture. He has authored the textbook Fundamentals of Electricity for Agriculture. He is a Fellow and Past President of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers; member American Society for Engineering Education, North American College and Teachers of Agriculture, and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

For over fifteen years he has been involved in scholarship of teaching in learning. He annually offers a course entitled “College Teaching in Engineering” with an annual enrollment averaging 30 students. He has authored or co-authored sixteen papers in the past eight years related to teaching and outcomes assessment in engineering.

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Determining Impact of a Course on Teaching in Engineering A course entitled “College Teaching in Engineering” has been offered to more than 300individuals over a fourteen year period. Students have included current graduate andundergraduate students and a small number of faculty from the across the College ofEngineering. It can be expected that students experiencing a structured course on teaching in adiscipline will be more likely to pursue a teaching career, approach teaching in a scholarly way,and be a successful teacher. However, there is little data available to support this hypothesis.This paper contributes to such data based on an analysis of the answers to a question poised tothe students and course alumni “Do you think this course has had an impact on how you thinkabout teaching and/or how you teach? If so how?”. Data sets used in the assessment are acombination of course evaluations at the time of offering and a survey of former students (coursealumni). This question has been included in all end-of-term evaluations for the course. Originalresponses of individuals were available for eight offerings of the course covering a period of1999 through 2009; 103 individuals. Potential email addresses identified for 281 of the coursealumni were used for distribution of a survey regarding the course. The survey included thesame question. Within a four-week period of the survey, 143 useable responses were received. A qualitative analysis of the “how” responses to the question placed responses into sixmajor categories in Fink’s Taxonomy of Significant Learning. The six categories are:foundational knowledge, application, integration, human dimension, caring, and learning how tolearn. An individual’s response could result in multiple responses within a category andresponses in multiple categories. For end of course surveys completed (n = 103) all gavepositive written responses to the question. Dividing the responses across the Fink categoriesresulted in 221 items being identified. From alumni, 96 of the 143 (67%) gave a writtenresponse to this question. All (100%) would imply a yes or positive response to the question.Dividing the responses into categories resulted in 170 items being identified. The respondents unanimously indicated the course had an impact. Although in both datasets the Fink Categories of fundamental knowledge and application received the highestpercentage of responses; all categories did receive responses. In addition, there was a significantshift from fundamental knowledge to integration between the post-class and alumni responsesets. The impact of the course was displayed by the distribution of responses that would indicatean understanding of a breadth of concepts involved in creating a significant learning experience.was part of the impact of the course.

Gustafson, R. J. (2011, June), Determining Impact of a Course on Teaching in Engineering Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17730

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015