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Efficacy of Learning with Course-provided Equation Reference Sheets in Engineering Education

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Conference

2020 Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting

Location

Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology)

Publication Date

November 7, 2020

Start Date

November 7, 2020

End Date

November 7, 2020

Page Count

15

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/36046

Download Count

40

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Paper Authors

biography

Jeremy David Paquin United States Military Academy

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Major Jeremy Paquin is an Instructor of Mechanical Engineering in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, United States Military Academy. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from West Point class of 2009. He holds a Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics and a Master of Business Administration from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2019). He is a Senior Army Aviator and Test and Evaluation Acquisitions Officer, qualified in the AH-64D Apache Longbow and fixed-wing aircraft. Major Jeremy Paquin currently serves as the Thermal-Fluids System I course director and has previously taught thermodynamics and fluid mechanics classes. His areas of interest include aircraft test and evaluation, hypersonic vehicles, and engineering education.

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Matthew Louis Miller United States Military Academy

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MAJ Miller is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He holds an advanced degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Jes Barron U.S. Military Academy

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Jes Barron is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from West Point (2009), a Master of Business Administration from Oklahoma State University (2015), and a Master of Science degree in Underground Construction and Tunnel Engineering from Colorado School of Mines (2018). He is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Texas.

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Abstract

This paper studies the efficacy of course-provided reference sheets on student learning when allowing reference material on exams versus other methods. Moving from student-provided note sheets to course-provided note sheets reduced the course exam failure rate from 11.8% to 0%. In previous iterations of ME388 Helicopter Aeronautics exam resources varied from student-provided note sheets to open-book exams with several iterations taking some combination of the two. Another course in the department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, MC311 Thermal-Fluid Systems I, inspired this research with its long-standing success with a course-provided 8½ x 11” front-and-back equation reference card used for over 20 iterations with positive results, affectionately named and referred to as the RDC for Reference Data Card, although it contains almost entirely equations, not data. Thus, the ME388 course instructors piloted a two-page course-provided equation sheet to students taking ME388 Helicopter Aeronautics at the beginning of the spring semester in the 2020 Academic Year with the goal of simplifying the teaching model and attempting to help students avoid common mistakes made during previous iterations of the course that used various formats of closed- and open-book exams. This paper will introduce the concept of closed- and open-reference teaching and assessment methods including a canvas of academic literature on related research. Motivation for the inclusion of the course-provided equation reference sheet determined from course feedback collected from previous iterations is analyzed and discussed. Current students are surveyed to gain insight into the students’ comfort with the material and gain anecdotal results on the method. Next, the aspects of designing and implementing the reference material are discussed with thoughts on layout, which equations to include, which data to include, and how to incorporate the reference material into daily instruction. Student feedback is analyzed with discussion on any adjustments made thereafter along with applicable justification from student feedback. Finally, a conclusive evaluation is determined from a synthesis of anecdotal evidence, Likert scale feedback, and exam grade comparison to previous iterations. This is weighed against the literature from other academic research and a discussion of the merits and disadvantages of allowing reference material on exams. The paper concludes with a final determination on the pilot program’s efficacy on student learning when implementing a course-provided equation reference sheet and recommendations for future work.

Paquin, J. D., & Miller, M. L., & Barron, J. (2020, November), Efficacy of Learning with Course-provided Equation Reference Sheets in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2020 Fall ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtual (hosted by Stevens Institute of Technology). https://peer.asee.org/36046

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