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Enhancing Students’ Higher-Order Skills through Community Service Learning Using Scaffolding for Creative Problem Solving

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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

Minorities in Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.575.1 - 25.575.21

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Paper Authors


Wei Zheng Jackson State University

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Dr. Wei Zheng is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Jackson State University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 and has over10-year industrial experience. Since becoming a faculty member at JSU in 2005, he has made continuous efforts to integrate emerging technologies and cognitive skill development into engineering curriculum.

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Jianjun Yin Jackson State University

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Jianjun Yin, Ph.D is a professor of education in the College of Education at Jackson State University. His research focuses on elementary education, multicultural education and math and engineering education for inner-city minority students.

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Enhancing Underserved Minority Students’ Higher-Order Skills through Community Service Learning With Scaffolding of Self-Regulated Learning and Creative Problem Solving Wei Zheng, (Dept. of Civil Engineering), Jianjun Yin, Ph.D. (College of Education and Human), and Valerie Shelby (Center for Service & Community Engaged Learning), Jackson State University AbstractThis paper is intended to illustrate an implemental framework that integrates the educational researchfindings with engineering education practice for developing effective instructional scaffolding of Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) and Creative Problem Solving (CPS); and to communicate the potential impactof this scaffolding on underserved minority students’ higher-order skill development through Project-Based Service Learning (PBSL). It contends that adoption of engineering design process in experientiallearning could promote students’ demands for cognitive and metacognitive strategies of Self-RegulatedLearning (SRL) and Creative Problem Solving (CPS), and scaffolding with question prompts based oncognitive research findings could better facilitate SRL and CPS process of underserved minority students,and lead to their enriched metacognitive experience, meaningful accomplishment, and improvement ofself-efficacy and higher-order skills.Metacognition refers to higher-order self-regulated mental processes that include making plans and usingappropriate strategies for learning and problem solving, and evaluating and reflecting on outcomes. Bothcreative problem solving and self-regulated learning involve higher-order metacognitive processes andare among highly demanded abilities for engineers to deal with more challenging problems faced by oursociality and rapidly developing technologies in the 21st century. The overall goal of the presentedscaffolding instruction is to develop of students’ higher-order skills and their identity as engineers andinnovators, especially for African-American students. The instruction is based on the hypothesis: PBSLincorporating with engineering design pedagogy could promote students’ awareness of and demands formetacognitive knowledge and strategies in creativity and self-regulated learning. Scaffolding CreativeProblem Solving through PBSL could facilitate under-served minority students’ meaningfulaccomplishment and improve their self-confidence and creativity. This could help students to form theiridentity as engineers and innovators and lead to their choice of engineer and researcher as careers.Meanwhile, the development of creativity could improve students’ metacognitive skills in learning andcreative problem solving in their engineering education. This will help students to enhance their academicperformance and retain in engineering studies. Students carried out their PBSL projects throughfollowing procedures: Students registered their service learning at Community Service Learning Center, formed project teams, and were assigned with the project and its requirement. Students were introduced to their community partners or mentors and start their service learning project for about two month period. Assisted by their mentors, the students were introduced with the problems that the community faces and will select the project topics that fit into their learning interest and knowledge level. Students received scaffolding on Creative Learning and Problem Solving, which is established based on the following components: (1) elements of creativity-fluency, flexibility, and originality; (2) two types of creativity: ordinary creativity for daily learning and extraordinary creativity for breakthrough; (3) every one should explore their own creativity; (4) creativity process model and strategies; (5) how can you solve problems creatively; and (6) samples and characteristics of creativity products and their development processes. Students reported their service learning project based on following criterions: (1) Proper presentation format (10 points),(2) Problem description (10 points), (3) State of previous work or solution by others The outcomes from the prior implementation in experience learning are outlined through students’responses and reflections to their learning experience. It finally concludes that the presented scaffoldinghas positive impacts on students’ self-efficacy and higher-order skill development, and furtherexperimental research is needed to validate this conclusion. 1

Zheng, W., & Yin, J. (2012, June), Enhancing Students’ Higher-Order Skills through Community Service Learning Using Scaffolding for Creative Problem Solving Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas.

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