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Guided-Lecture Team Based Learning at Work: Teaching Differential Calculus to Part-time Engineering Students in Latin America.

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 2

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Jose Roberto Portillo Universidad Galileo

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Roberto Portillo is a mathematics instructor and sub-director of the Teaching Assistants Department of Universidad Galileo in Guatemala. He holds a Bs. in Electronics and Computer Science and a Ms. in Operations Research. In several years he was awarded with the "Excellence in Teaching" award. His current research interests are focused in Engineering Education.

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Alberth E Alvarado Universidad Galileo

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Alberth Alvarado received (with honors) the B.S. degree in Electronics and Computer Science Engineering from Universidad Francisco Marroquín in 2004; the M.S. degree in Applied Mathematics and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2010 and 2014, respectively. Currently, Dr. Alvarado is the Head of the Department of Applied Mathematics at Universidad Galileo in Guatemala, Guatemala.

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Jorge Samayoa Ranero Universidad Galileo Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jorge A. Samayoa holds a B.S. in electronics and computer science (UFM), a M.S. in operation research (GALILEO), a M.S. in applied mathematics (TAMU) and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering (PURDUE). In 2003, he started teaching undergraduate courses in mathematics at the Engineering School of Galileo University and has taught courses at Francisco Marroquin University, Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala, and Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. In 2004, he founded the Teaching Assistants Department of Galileo University, where he was responsible for all the Teaching Assistants of several schools of Galileo University. In 2006, he was awarded the “Excellence in Teaching” Award of Galileo University. Currently, he is the head of Operations Research at Universidad Galileo. His current research interests include complex systems, general systems theory, and efficiency and creation of teaching tools for engineering education.

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In most of developing countries, high school students lack of a solid education in mathematics. In addition, due to the economic situation, each year more freshmen students combine college with a full time job position. For this reason, many universities in Latin America offer engineering degrees, with schedules designed to fit their needs. It is well known that part-time students belong to the so-called group “non-traditional”, which among others, have higher levels of dropout and lower levels of engagement compared to full-time students.

In this paper, we focus on freshmen students who are enrolled in a Differential Calculus Course, whose audience are part-time students. In recent years, the attendance and performance of this group began to differ significantly from those enrolled as full-time students. As a result, we designed and implemented a different approach for such a course, based on Team based learning (TBL). This approach is a powerful methodology, that provides a complete framework for building a flipped classroom experience. However, our students are not used to this kind of methodologies, because they are not commonly implemented in high school. In addition, since TBL is a flipped classroom methodology, students tend to perceive that instructors do not contribute to their learning experience, since in TBL, the instructors are only a facilitator in their learning process and the great majority of the work is done by the students themselves. Furthermore, in the specific case of part-time students, the time needed to be prepared for a TBL session is extremely limited. As a result we propose what we call Guided Lecture - TBL (GL-TBL), whose singularity is that the reading assignment in the traditional TBL is replaced by a lecture taught by the instructor. It is important to emphasize that, this lecture is based on the course textbook and its format tries to accomplish the TBL session objectives; hence, perfectly substituting the TBL reading assignment. The Differential Calculus course was divided in 4 sessions a week, in which Guided Lectures and TBL activities (such as iRAT, tRAT and problem solving) alternate.

To measure the effectiveness of GL-TBL in a Differential Calculus course, we implemented this methodology in one out of three sections offered for part-time students. Thus, we were able to compare the GL-TBL results not only with the part-time students but also with those enrolled as full-time. In order to quantify the results of the implementation of GL-TBL in the setting described above, we took into account three important facts: (i) average attendance during the course, (ii) percentage of students who pass the course, and (iii) average final grade. In terms of attendance, it increased by 30% in comparison with the same section in the previous year. Moreover, there is no statistical difference between the average attendance to the GL-TBL section and those full-time students’ sections. On the other hand, the percentage of students who passed the course in the GL-TBL section was around 70%, this is around 2 times the percentage of students who approved the course in the previous year.

Portillo, J. R., & Alvarado, A. E., & Samayoa Ranero, J. (2018, June), Guided-Lecture Team Based Learning at Work: Teaching Differential Calculus to Part-time Engineering Students in Latin America. Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30567

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