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Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement in Construction Course using Service Learning

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Crossing Boundaries - Service Learning and Interdisciplinary Teams

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.535.1 - 23.535.9



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Paper Authors


Chung-Suk Cho University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Assistant Professor
Engineering Technology and Construction Management
University of North Carolina Charlotte

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Candace Mazze Univeristy of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Ms. Mazze is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Leadership department at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She has served as a graduate research assistant for Construction Management in College of Engineering. She has researched, gathered and analyzed data, and assisted in writing and presenting studies in Engineering Education on instructional and service learning components of undergraduate construction management courses. Ms. Mazze is expected to receive her doctorate Spring of 2013.

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Sandra Loree Dika University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Dr. Sandra Dika is an Assistant Professor of Research Methods in the Department of Educational Leadership at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research interests are focused on student engagement and success in college, particularly among underrepresented students in STEM fields. She collaborates frequently with engineering educators on research projects and evaluations of programs and curricula.

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Gary Bruce Gehrig P.E. University of North Carolina, Charlotte

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Dr. Gehrig is the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Programs in the Department of Engineering Technology and Construction Management at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He has taught numerous courses and engaged in extensive curriculum development efforts as a faculty member in the civil engineering technology and construction management programs.

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Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement in Construction Course using Service LearningService learning is considered a valuable approach to apply concepts from the higher educationclassroom in real world settings, and has become quite common in some disciplines. Engineeringeducators in the United States are making efforts to incorporate service learning activities andstudy their benefits for student learning and engagement. When classroom instruction isaugmented with an out-of-class experience that provides a defining hands-on experience – formany perhaps their first – the classroom experience itself also takes on a new aura of reality andrelativity. Synergistically, the students emerging from this learning experience will be moreconfident and better prepared for follow-on courses in the curriculum. Taking the basiccomponents of service learning approach, this paper validates an active-based, student-focusedmethodology as a successful means for student achievement, engagement, and mastery oflearning objectives and project outcomes.More specifically, this paper reports on the design and results of an one-year educationalresearch that utilized an engineering course, “Construction Materials”, to implement servicelearning by augmenting instruction with real-world hands-on construction experiences at localjob sites using Habitat for Humanity (HFH) projects. The “Construction Materials" is anintroductory course on behavior and physical properties of basic construction materials in CivilEngineering.Students’ perceptions and learning outcomes based on HFH experience were measured andanalyzed following the research questions that captured: perceived improvement in learningcourse materials while understanding the construction industry; level of interaction andteamwork between and among students, faculty, and peers; and student interpretation of thevalue of student learning for the course – greatest learning experiences and/or challenges.Overall, students reported positive perceptions of the service learning experience and itscontribution to their learning of course concepts. This paper describes the research background,application of service learning components, analysis and evaluation of service learning results,and findings from the research much in detail.

Cho, C., & Mazze, C., & Dika, S. L., & Gehrig, G. B. (2013, June), Enhancing Student Learning and Engagement in Construction Course using Service Learning Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19549

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