Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
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.
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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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