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Developing and Implementing Guided Inquiry Modules in a Construction Materials Course

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Innovative Course Developments in Construction

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.425.1 - 25.425.10



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Paper Authors


Chung-Suk Cho University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Chung-Suk Cho is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, Department of Engineering Technology. His teaching and research focus on project scope definition, preproject planning, sustainable construction, project administration, construction safety, construction simulation, and project management. He has prior teaching experience at North Carolina A&T State University in construction management and working experience with Fluor Corporation as a Project Manager. His studies at University of Texas, Austin, resulted in a Ph.D. in 2000.

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David S. Cottrell Sr. P.E. University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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David S. Cottrell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1978 and retired in 2000, after more than 22 years of service with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Studies at Texas A&M University resulted in an M.S. degree in civil engineering in 1987 and a Ph.D. in 1995. He is a registered Professional Engineer with the Commonwealth of Virginia. With more than 14 years professorial academic experience, he has taught a large variety of courses, including statics, dynamics, mechanics of materials, graphic communications, engineering economy, and construction planning, scheduling, estimating, and management.

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Candace Mazze University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Candace E. Mazze is a Research Assistant at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Her research interests include curriculum design and assessment of learning. She received her master's degree in elementary education from Pfeiffer University and is currently enrolled in the educational leadership doctoral program at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She has prior teaching and administrative experience in private and public school systems.

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Sandra Loree Dika University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Sandra Loree Dika is an assistant Professor of education research methods at UNC Charlotte. She studies college access and success issues and has a particular interest in first generation and STEM students.

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Developing and Implementing Guided Inquiry Modules in a Construction Materials CourseGuided inquiry is an alternative, research-based instructional approach which has receivedincreasing attention from engineering educators in the drive to incorporate active learning intoengineering education. PRIME modules are one example of guided inquiry instruction in theengineering disciplines. While modules on professional ethics have been developed and foundeffective, there is little research on the effectiveness of modules to improve student knowledge incore engineering topics.This paper describes a study of the effects of guided inquiry module instruction on undergraduateconstruction engineering students’ understanding of course concepts and attitudes toward moduleinstruction.Eighty-one students from two sections of the same Construction Materials engineering courseparticipated in the study. Both sections received guided inquiry module instruction (treatment)for three of the six course topics. Participants completed pre- and post-tests for each topic, exams(midterm and final), and a questionnaire to assess attitudes and perceptions.Results of the study show students perceived module instruction to be more effective than thetraditional lecture. Students across both sections indicated that they participated more duringmodule instruction, and that this approach was more effective in encouraging participation, andproviding opportunities for discussion, activities, and teamwork. Additionally, studentsperformed better on certain topic post-tests under the treatment condition.This study contributes to the growing research on the effectiveness of active instructionalapproaches in engineering education to improve student learning gains. Future research shouldconsider instructor teaching style and class composition in the design of experimentalcomparisons.

Cho, C., & Cottrell, D. S., & Mazze, C., & Dika, S. L. (2012, June), Developing and Implementing Guided Inquiry Modules in a Construction Materials Course Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21183

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