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Exploring Engineering Faculty's Use of Active-learning Strategies in Their Teaching

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Faculty Perspectives of Active Learning, Inequity, and Curricular Change

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu Iowa State University

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Dr. Aliye Karabulut-Ilgu is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at Iowa State University. Her background is in Curriculum and Instruction, and her research interests include online learning, hybrid learning, and technology integration in higher education.

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Dana AlZoubi Iowa State University

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Dana AlZoubi is a PhD candidate, majoring in Educational technology and co-majoring in Human-Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. Her research interests include learning and teaching analytics, dashboards, online learning, self-regulation, student engagement, and reflective practices. Her current work aims to examine how instructors’ teaching strategies and methodologies may be informed and improved by interpreting data visualizations (i.e., dashboards) in both in-class and online environments.

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Evrim Baran Iowa State University

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Evrim Baran is an associate professor of educational technology in the School of Education and Human Computer Interaction at Iowa State University. She conducts research at the intersection of technology in teacher education, human-computer interaction, and learning sciences. Her research aims to establish effective strategies for the design of mobile, online, and flexible learning environments in teacher education, engineering education, and STEM learning contexts.

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Active learning approach, an umbrella term for a multitude of instructional methods that require students to actively participate in the learning process, has gained increasing popularity in engineering education. Based on the complexity and the time requirement, active learning can take many different forms from simply pausing a lecture and asking students to write a summary of what has been covered in the lecture to asking them to collaboratively work on real-world problems and projects. The effectiveness of active learning strategies compared to the traditional lecture approach, when implemented well, has been empirically validated and documented in engineering education literature. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore engineering faculty’s use of active learning strategies in their teaching in a Midwestern university’s college of engineering context. Data sources included a survey about the faculty knowledge and use of active learning strategies and follow-up semi-structured interviews that aimed to gather an in-depth understanding of their implementation of active learning strategies in their classrooms. Results indicated that collaborative learning and problem-based learning were two most commonly used active learning strategies, while 1-minute paper and peer instruction were the least commonly used strategies. Participants agreed that active learning improved student learning outcomes, and motivated students to participate in the class, but required an increased workload during the development of activities. The results of this study may inform future faculty development efforts and adoption of active learning strategies in classrooms that were proven to improve student learning and retention in engineering.

Karabulut-Ilgu, A., & AlZoubi, D., & Baran, E. (2021, July), Exploring Engineering Faculty's Use of Active-learning Strategies in Their Teaching Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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