June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.412.1 - 23.412.10
Development of a Concept Inventory for Introductory Environmental Engineering CoursesNearly all university curricula in Civil Engineering and/or Environmental Engineering include anintroductory course in Environmental Engineering. Here we refer to such introductory coursesas Fundamentals of Environmental Engineering (FEE). There are currently no validated andreliable instruments for assessing students’ comprehension of core concepts associated with FEE.Such an instrument would be useful in assessing whether different teaching approaches(laboratory projects, classroom format, curricular ordering, etc.) improve students’ conceptualunderstanding of FEE material. It also could play an important role in assessment forprogrammatic accreditation through ABET.Therefore, in this project, we aim to develop a Fundamentals of Environmental EngineeringConcept Inventory (FEECI), and to test the FEECI at ten US engineering undergraduateprograms with required undergraduate FEE courses. The FEECI will take the form of amultiple-choice test that emphasizes conceptual understanding of environmental engineeringfundamentals as opposed to rote problem-solving. Carefully formulated incorrect answers(“distracters”) will be used to capture common student misconceptions. The FEECI will bemodeled after existing concept inventories that have been developed for other subjects, includingchemistry, thermodynamics, and engineering mechanics.To develop the FEECI, we first reviewed existing text books and syllabi to identify key topics inFEE courses (e.g., environmental biology, environmental chemistry). Then, a panel of experts(13 professors from departments of Civil Engineering or Environmental Engineering whoroutinely teach an FEE course) identified key concepts (e.g., biochemical oxygen demand,reaction kinetics) within each of the topics. Next, the panel of experts and a group of studentswere surveyed to identify which of those concepts were viewed as both important and difficultfor students to learn. The expert panel survey was conducted iteratively as a Delphi study. Fromthe results of the Delphi study and the student surveys, eight concepts were ultimately identifiedfor inclusion in the first version of the FEECI. Currently, we are developing open-endedquestions related to those concepts that will be administered to a group of student volunteers.Student answers to the open-ended questions will be used to refine the questions and to developappropriate distracters for inclusion in the first version of the FEECI.
Sengupta, S., & Cunningham, J. A., & Ergas, S. J., & Goel, R. K., & Ozalp, D., & Reed, T. K. (2013, June), Development of a Concept Inventory for Introductory Environmental Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19426
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