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Evaluating the Use of Peer Instruction in Civil Engineering Courses

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Creating a Positive Environment for Learning

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30450

Download Count

66

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Paper Authors

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Shannon Bartelt-Hunt University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Shannon Bartelt-Hunt is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Nebraska. She received her Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia and her research focuses on the fate and transport of biologically-active organic contaminants in agricultural systems and water reuse in agriculture. She is a faculty fellow of the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute at the University of Nebraska and maintains a courtesy appointment in the Department of Environmental, Occupational and Agricultural Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She has published over 95 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, was awarded an NSF CAREER award in 2012, and in 2015 was a member of a team receiving the Grand Prize for University Research from the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists. Dr. Bartelt-Hunt teaches an introductory course in environmental engineering as well as environmental engineering chemistry and solid waste management and has received university and national awards recognizing her teaching. She served as graduate chair in the Department of Civil Engineering from 2013-2016 and in 2014, was named a R. Vernon McBroom Engineering Leadership fellow in the College of Engineering.

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Elizabeth G. Jones University of Nebraska, Lincoln Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7043-1426

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Dr. Elizabeth G. “Libby” Jones is a civil engineering faculty member at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Her areas of specialty are traffic engineering, appropriate technology, service learning, and engineering education. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University. Both her Masters of Science and Ph.D. were earned in Civil Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. She has worked as a consulting engineer in Colorado and Texas. Prior to joining the UNL faculty, she was a faculty member at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Dr. Jones has been a principal investigator or co-principal investigator on over 25 research projects. She has authored or co-authored over 50 papers and served as committee chair for over 25 Masters and Doctoral students.

Since 2008, she has served as one of the faculty advisors for the University of Nebraska’s Chapter of Engineers Without Borders-USA. Dr. Jones has received numerous awards for her leadership, mentoring and teaching including most recently the 2015 Holling Family Distinguished Teaching / Advising / Mentoring Award from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Engineering and the 2014 Engineers Without Borders-USA Peter J. Bosscher Faculty Advisor Award for Outstanding Leadership.

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Richard L. Wood University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Richard L. Wood is currently an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, with a focus on structural engineering and remote sensing of civil infrastructure. His teaching interests lie in structural analysis, structural dynamics, earthquake engineering, and other dynamic loads.

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Robert M. Erdmann University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Robert Erdmann is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research focuses on the impact of professional development opportunities on STEM instructor practices. He holds a Ph.D. in Biology and was a middle school science teacher prior to graduate school.

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Marilyne Stains University of Nebraska, Lincoln

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Abstract

Evaluating the Use of Peer Instruction in Civil Engineering Courses

Interactive teaching strategies have demonstrated the ability to bring about increased learning gains when compared to traditional lecture style approaches (Freeman et al. 2014). One such strategy, Peer Instruction (PI), aims to convert students from passive listeners to active and engaged learners. During PI, conceptual questions are posed to the students and students respond individually via a personal response system (PRS). If a significant proportion of the class is confused, students engage in peer discussion moderated by the instructor, which is then followed by another PRS vote (Vickrey et al. 2014). PI has been evaluated for its efficacy as an instructional strategy in the natural sciences including chemistry, biology and physics, but there are few studies evaluating the use of PI in engineering education. In this study, we evaluated the use of PI in civil engineering courses including a required introductory environmental engineering course (junior level, n=53) and an elective course in structural engineering (senior and graduate students, n=11) and an elective course in transportation engineering (senior and graduate students, n=20-25) taught via synchronous distance education. In each course, one-half of the course topics were covered using a PI approach. A pre- and post-knowledge test was given to all students to evaluate learning gains on both PI and non-PI topics. Classroom activities from topics covered with and without the use of PI were video recorded and evaluated using the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS) as described in Smith et al. (2013). At the end of the course, a student satisfaction survey was administered to students using an instrument adapted from Crossgrove and Curran (2008). From these assessment techniques, we will measure learning gains on topics presented using PI versus traditional lecture styles. We hypothesize that the use of PI will increase the classroom time spent by both the instructor and students in active teaching and learning modes. Finally, we anticipate that the use of PI will increase student satisfaction with the course and that students will recommend the continued use of PI in civil engineering courses. To our knowledge, this study constitutes one of the first to evaluate the efficacy of PI in civil engineering education.

Crossgrove, K. and K.L. Curran. (2009). Using Clickers in Nonmajors- and Majors-Level Biology Courses: Student Opinion, Learning, and Long-Term Retention of Course Material. CBE-Life Science Education, 7: 146-154, doi: 10.1187/cbe.07–08–0060

Freeman, S., Eddy S.L., McDonough, M., Smith, M.K., Okorafor, N., Jordt, H., and Wenderoth M.P. (2013). Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering and mathematics. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, 111: 8410-8415, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319030111

Smith, M.K., Jones, F.H., Gilbert, S.L., and Wieman, C.E. (2013). The Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS): a new instrument to characterize university STEM classroom practices. CBE-Life Science Education, 12: 618-627, doi: 10.1187/cbe.13-08-0154

Vickrey, T., Rosploch, K., Rahmanian, R., Pilarz, M., and Stains, M. (2014). Research-Based Implementation of Peer Instruction: A Literature Review. CBE-Life Science Education, 14: 1-11, doi: 10.1187/cbe.14-11-0198.

Bartelt-Hunt, S., & Jones, E. G., & Wood, R. L., & Erdmann, R. M., & Stains, M. (2018, June), Evaluating the Use of Peer Instruction in Civil Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30450

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