March 24, 2021
March 24, 2021
March 26, 2021
David J. Ewing Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department University of Texas at Arlington
Catherine Unite, Monica Franco, Kimshi Hickman Division of Student Success University of Texas at Arlington
Several years ago, the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), and specifically the College of Engineering, created a first year engineering course in order to address student’s deficiencies in solving engineering related problems. This class is called Engineering Problem Solving and teaches in-depth problem solving methodology and programming in an active and collaborative environment, shown to benefit the most diverse preparedness levels of student groups. Since its inception, however, students placed into Pre-Calculus, instead of being Calculus ready, have suffered from higher failure rates than any other student grouping. While UTA has devoted many studies to programs and techniques that aid these underprepared students, a few strategies have emerged as being most effective. These strategies, shown in previous papers, were the implementation of Supplemental Instruction (SI), separate sections devoted specifically to Pre-Calculus co-enrolled students, peer-based instruction, and active learning activities as opposed to additional lectures. Therefore, in the Fall 2020 semester, UTA combined all these strategies into a learning course combining these best practices into a required learning lab with problem-based activities and studying practices. The goal is to aid in increasing this group’s success rate in this class, which has been shown to increase student retention in the College of Engineering. The students engage in effective “study habits” and problem-based learning practices with a Peer Led Teaching Learning (PLTL) leader. What we have found is these practices, which will be shared in this paper, have taken the best parts of our previous effective strategies that have helped this particularly at risk population. The students receive college credit hours, so they are able to spend the required amount of time studying the material and are guided by peers rather than their professors, encouraging more interactivity. This paper will show the effectiveness of this learning course by comparing success rates, defined as an A, B, or C in Engineering Problem Solving, of this student group this semester versus the other singular implementations from previous fall semesters. This paper will show that this learning course is even more effective in its forced implementation (lab learning) than the singular components for all students in the Pre-Calculus entry level.
Ewing, D. J., & Unite, C. M., & Franco, M., & Hickman, K. (2021, March), Evaluation of a Peer-Led Team Learning Course Designed to Increase Underprepared Students Success in Engineering Paper presented at ASEE 2021 Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference, Waco, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/36377
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