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Fill In Worksheets: A Tool To Increase Student Engagement

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.582.1 - 15.582.7



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Paper Authors


Rungun Nathan Pennsylvania State University, Berks Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Rungun Nathan is an assistant professor in the division of engineering at Penn State Berks from the fall of 2007. He got his BS from University of Mysore, DIISc from Indian Institute of Science, MS from Louisiana State University and PhD from Drexel University. He worked as a post-doc at University of Pennsylvania in the area of Haptics. His research interests are in the areas of ornithopters, mechatronics, robotics, mems, virtual reality and haptics, and teaching with technology. He has active research in the area of lift in Porous medium with Dr. Qianhong Wu (Villanova Univeristy) and in the area of non-linear control with Dr. Sergey Nersesov (Villanova University). He is an active member of ASEE and ASME and reviewer for several journals.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Fill-in Worksheets: A Tool to Increase Student Engagement


Every engineering educator strives very hard to increase student engagement in the classroom. Techniques like Problem Based Learning (PBL), Active Learning (AL), Cooperative Learning (CL), Service Learning and Undergraduate Research are some of the prevalent methods currently in use to increase student engagement. This paper is about “Fill-in Worksheets”, a tool that was developed to increase student engagement in classroom and allows for incorporating PBL, AL and CL along with Peer Instruction (PI). The paper describes the steps and thought process that was used in developing the fill-in worksheets over the past several years. The worksheets have enabled the author to increase student engagement, include AL, CL and implement PI in the classroom.


“Educators, researchers and policy makers have advocated student involvement for sometime as an essential aspect of meaningful learning.”1 To engage students, educators have used techniques like active2 and cooperative learning3, 4, inquiry and problem based learning, team projects, service learning and undergraduate research.

A decade ago, classroom instruction was limited to the use of blackboard to lecture and solve problems in most institutions for many engineering courses across the USA and the world. Student engagement as we all know was typically limited to copying notes. If students managed to follow, a question or two maybe asked to clarify some doubts could be added in. While many of the baby-boomer generations learned most of their engineering by this modality along with self-study, which included solving several problems from many textbooks, present day students are exposed to a very different set of learning experiences and generally are a very different set of learners. From personal observations and discussions with K-12 teachers in neighboring school districts, (Exeter Township, Muhlenberg, Lower Merion, Reading, Wyomissing) it is evident that there is an increased use of handouts, workbooks and worksheets in grade school education. These implements are used for both in class learning and for homework assignments. From the same conversation, it is also apparent that for in-class assigned problems and homework assessment, the teachers read out the answers and generally the students verify their own work or in some cases exchanges papers and correct the answers. Even though the teachers insists and require that steps and work be clearly and neatly shown, most students do the work in any convenient manner and just make sure they obtain the answers, because final answers are being checked and graded.

As engineers and engineering educators we are all well aware that understanding the concept and applying them to problem solving is very important5. Equally important is to develop our own problem solving strategies6 based on working out a large and varied number of problems. Even though our students are reminded and aware of this, they generally operate on an optimization principle based on the objective function “Minimize

Nathan, R. (2010, June), Fill In Worksheets: A Tool To Increase Student Engagement Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16879

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