June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.513.1 - 23.513.11
Engineering Learning CommunitiesABSTRACT Learning communities are used widely across the country as a means of increasingretention of first year students at the university level. Living learning communities wherestudents of the same major reside in a common residential hall of university campuses arecommon in engineering programs across the country and their results are prevalent in theliterature. However, the pedagogical approach of curricular learning communities which enroll acohort of students into two or more common courses typically linked by a common theme, arerarely used in engineering education. In fall 2008 a regional institution of 8000 students in thesouth central U.S. began offering learning communities for first year engineering majors. Thegoal of this program was to create a community among the first year engineering students, andinstigate study groups early in their academic career which would offer support through thegateway mathematics, science and engineering courses. Engineering learning communitiesinitially were created linking Precalculus and Fundamentals of Engineering or Calculus I andFundamentals of Engineering for first semester freshman engineering majors. By studentrequest the experiences were expanded in 2010 to a second semester sequence linking CalculusII and Engineering Statics. Propensity score analysis was used to evaluate the impact of the Engineering LearningCommunities on first year retention of student in engineering and at the university. The methodof propensity scores was used to obtain a matched comparison group from historical andconcurrently enrolled first year engineering majors. The covariates of interest were: full-time orpart-time status, sex, first generation status, age, ACT composite score, transfer or native student,and socio-economic status. Rate of retention was then compared for those enrolled in thelearning community versus the matched control group. First year engineering majors whoparticipated in a learning community were retained in engineering at a rate of 53% in comparisonto 46% for those not enrolled in the learning community. Although not statistically significant(p=0.0924), after matching students enrolled in the engineering community were retained inengineering and at the university at a higher rate than those not enrolled in the learningcommunity experience.
Lockwood, P. R., & Hunt, E. M. (2013, June), Engineering Learning Communities Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/19527
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