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Impact of Collaborative Learning on Student Persistence in First Year Design Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Classroom Practice I: Active and Collaborative Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Dawn Laux Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Dawn Laux is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University. She has been with the university since 2007 and is responsible for teaching database fundamentals courses and introductory technology courses. Laux has 10 years of industrial experience in the information technology field, and her research area of interest includes technology readiness, the social impacts of technology, and increasing interest in the field of computing.

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Andrew Jackson Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Andrew Jackson is currently pursuing a PhD in Technology through Purdue's Polytechnic Institute. His previous middle school teaching experience informs his role as a graduate teaching assistant for TECH 120, an introductory course in design thinking. He recently completed his Master of Science in Technology Leadership and Innovation from Purdue University with a thesis investigating middle school engineering self-efficacy beliefs. His research interests are engineering self-efficacy, creativity, and decision making.

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Nathan Mentzer Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Nathan Mentzer is an assistant professor in the College of Technology with a joint appointment in the College of Education at Purdue University. Hired as a part of the strategic P12 STEM initiative, he prepares Engineering/Technology candidates for teacher licensure. Dr. Mentzer’s educational efforts in pedagogical content knowledge are guided by a research theme centered in student learning of engineering design thinking on the secondary level. Nathan was a former middle and high school technology educator in Montana prior to pursuing a doctoral degree. He was a National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE) Fellow at Utah State University while pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. After graduation he completed a one year appointment with the Center as a postdoctoral researcher.

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This research paper seeks to evaluate the impact of collaborative learning on student persistence and the methods by which the impact is mediated. Collaboration is frequently listed among skills required for students to succeed in the workplace. Engineering standards include developing “an ability to function on multidisciplinary teams” as well as “an ability to communicate effectively.” Active learning strategies, including collaborative learning techniques, have been encouraged to promote student learning and engagement. However, a gap exists in literature when it comes to connecting collaborative learning to student engagement and persistence. A model has been recommended whereby collaborative learning impacts turnover intention (persistence) while being mediated by factors of campus connectedness, a sense of community, and organizational commitment. Prior research has applied this model to participation in a computer supported collaborative learning environment and been able to significantly describe relationships between nearly all factors. The purpose of this study is to apply the model in an introductory design course and assess model fit for these factors influencing student persistence. Nine hundred fourteen students enrolled during two semesters of an introductory design thinking course were surveyed and included in analysis. The course is a flipped classroom, including computer supported collaborative learning among other unique features. Data will be analyzed through structural equation modeling to simultaneously evaluate relationships among the factors. Results from the model will be reported. Researchers anticipate that usability of the system will positively impact collaborative learning. Next, collaborative learning will lead to a greater sense of campus connectedness and sense of community for students. These two factors will contribute to organizational commitment and reduction of turnover intention. Implications for this model include expansion of student attrition research as it relates to technology and engineering education and the contribution of this model to understanding student attitudes in the domain of engineering and design thinking. While collaborative learning is important the present research is an opportunity to assess its impact on students beyond the acquisition of new knowledge.

Laux, D., & Jackson, A., & Mentzer, N. (2016, June), Impact of Collaborative Learning on Student Persistence in First Year Design Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25536

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