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Fostering Diversity and Educational Learning among Minority Engineering Students through Group-Study: A Case Study

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Research on Learning, Performance, and Impact

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.615.1 - 23.615.14



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Paper Authors

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Ananda Mani Paudel Colorado State University-Pueblo Orcid 16x16


Sylvester A. Kalevela Colorado State University, Pueblo

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Sylvester A. Kalevela is a Professor of Civil Engineering Technology at Colorado State University-Pueblo (CSU-Pueblo). He is currently the chair of the department of Engineering Technology, Construction and Automotive Industry Management. He joined CSU-Pueblo in 2005. He has been teaching for 15 years, including six years at Georgia Southern University. His teaching service was preceded by various engagements including four years of consulting with a transportation engineering firm in Albuquerque, NM; seven years of transportation research service with the Arizona Department of Transportation, and four years as the roads engineer for the City of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.

He received a B.S. degree in Engineering (civil) from the university of Dar-es-Salaam, a M.S. degree from Virginia Tech., and a Ph.D. (civil engineering) from Arizona State University. Dr. Kalevela is a registered professional engineer in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Georgia. He is a member of ASEE and ASCE; a charter member of the Transportation and Development Institute and fellow of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

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Fostering Diversity and Educational Learning among Minority Engineering Students through Group-Study: A Case StudyPeer tutoring is established as one of the most efficient method in learning. Thesame approach blended with diversity is used in this study through in-class-study-group formation. Effectiveness of group-study in enhancing minority student’sperformance is investigated in this paper. The study is done in the fundamentalengineering classes in two US regional universities over the last three years. Oneinstitution is a traditional mainstream university and other is a Hispanic ServingInstitution (HSI) with diverse student population. In general, engineering has veryfew students from underrepresented minority background. Due to the lowperformance rate of minority students, it’s becoming a challenge for engineeringprogram in HSI as minority students are the major student body. Success of theentire engineering program will largely depend on the success rate of the minoritystudents.Selectively random study groups are formed by including students of differentperformance levels as well as ethnicity and gender. Each team consistedindividuals from different ethnicity, educational level and gender. Set of the teamincludes: {White, Hispanic, Female, and one from any group}. They areencouraged to study in a group inside and outside the class room. Each group isasked to do their in-class and home work problems as a team and learn from eachother. For the purpose of grading, peer evaluations as well as individual exams arealso administered in addition to group evaluation. Descriptive Statistics andANOVA is used for data analysis.Some challenges in collaboration appeared in the beginning due to the hesitanceof few students’ to join a new group. Explanation with an example of the diversecomposition of a real world workforce helped out students subside their anxiety.Communication between differing thoughts and interactions were encouraged toformalize a constructive collaboration. Personal values and differing beliefscompounded the though process but a caution was taken to avoid a hindrance inthe collaboration effort.The approach of forming diversified study group has enhanced the interactionamong the student and helped minority students to escape the trap of poorperforming cohort. Diversified study group would be suitable with the studentbody consisting different level of preparation and experience. In addition to thestudents learning this also provided some release time to the instructors. Directedcollaboration approach can be extended to other universities by forming acustomized diversified team suitable for the specific environment. Diverse groupmight be a forum to interact and establish a communication among the studentsfrom different background and reduce stereotype.

Paudel, A. M., & Kalevela, S. A. (2013, June), Fostering Diversity and Educational Learning among Minority Engineering Students through Group-Study: A Case Study Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19629

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