June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.635.1 - 22.635.19
Episodes as a Discourse Analysis Framework to Examine Feedback in an Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratory ProjectThis study uses episodes as a discourse analysis framework to investigate feedback in anindustrially-situated virtual laboratory project. Feedback has been shown to be one of the mostimportant tools used by faculty to help students close the gap between actual and desiredperformance. The connection between feedback and student performance has been studied bothinside the classroom and in other student-faculty interactions. Forms of feedback vary widely inembodiment from results of multiple choice tests to one-on-one discussions between studentsand faculty. Several researchers have described the advantages of authentic, situated learningenvironments. One such advantage is to potentially increase transfer due to similarities betweenaspects of the educational project and an industrial project. A second advantage is that studentsmay value a situated, authentic project more highly than traditional coursework and thus be moremotivated and more willing to invest time and effort into learning. Studies of feedback insituated projects are uncommon and needed.This paper focuses on a case study of feedback provided to four-teams of students as part of anopen ended senior project. The 12 students are drawn from two cohorts in their final year ofundergraduate chemical, biological or environmental engineering at a large public university.Students were organized in groups and placed in the role of semiconductor process engineers,tasked with optimizing a virtual chemical vapor deposition reactor. This three week projectinvolved two meetings with an expert consultant, referred to as coaching sessions. The expertconsultant in this study is a faculty member with domain expertise. These coaching sessionswere perceived by students to be similar to a meeting with a boss or manager in industry. Thefirst coaching session for each team is explored in detail. The primary data source used was talk-aloud transcripts of the coaching sessions. Additional data sources were used for confirmationincluding: student and expert interviews, student surveys, and student work products.In this study, discourse in episodes was used to identify central themes in each of the fourcoaching sessions examined. While episodes have been used in other disciplines, they present arelatively new framework for engineering education research. A model for episodes is proposedwhich includes four components: surveying, probing, guiding and confirmation. Episodes are acombination of two or more of these components. Some episodes demonstrate each componentclearly, while in others the transitions between components are less clear. The themes identifiedwith the episodes framework were used to further explore the larger set of data surrounding thecoaching sessions. Results illustrate how these topic-themed episodes can help direct dataanalysis and provide a model for instructor development. In addition they suggest that thesituated feedback present in the virtual laboratory project resonates with students and impactsstudent performance. Students volunteer that they have applied concepts emphasized in thosefeedback sessions to projects in later coursework.This study is part a larger investigation on student learning in virtual laboratories.
Gilbuena, D., & Sherrett, B. U., & Koretsky, M. (2011, June), Episodes as a Discourse Analysis Framework to Examine Feedback in an Industrially Situated Virtual Laboratory Project Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17916
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