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Impact of Mentoring and Coaching on Student Performance in an Operations Research Class

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Industrial Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Industrial Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.696.1 - 24.696.12



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Paper Authors


Masud Salimian Morgan State University

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Faculty at Industrial Engineering Department

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Yaseen Mahmud Morgan State University

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Impact of Mentoring and Coaching on Student Performance in an Operations Research ClassOperations Research provides an essential set of core skills needed by Industrial Engineers.Teaching its mathematical and theoretical foundation creates challenges for both instructor andstudents. Most instructors in a semester usually concentrate on providing the proceduralunderstanding of the use of the algorithms rather than the applications and concepts.Based on an innovative design of the delivery and instructional methodology founded on acognitive learning model, concepts of coaching and mentoring are used to enhance studentlearning. The approach used for the OR class requires students to have a disciplined time-management approach to their studies. Many students are unaccustomed to the weekly studyregiment necessitated by the structure of the class, where falling behind becomes detrimental tothe success fostering an environment where an individual student might be overwhelmed. Theirpredicament not noticed by the instructor until dire consequents are upon them. The innovativemethod used to teach this class exacerbates this problem.One expanded solution used to mitigate this problem was the development of a community oflearning that is both multifaceted and active. Enhancement of student learning, increasing activestudent participation, development of critical thinking and personal confidence are all beneficialoutcomes of an active community of learning. The community uses mentoring as well ascoaching concepts in addition to providing access to recorded videos of the class lectures and aWeb site with solved problems to deliver an engulfing learning experience.Part of the innovative teaching method is the segmentation of the course material into topics.Having produced a community of learning in past iterations of this class and having identified agroup of students’ knowledgeable in the conduct of this class; these students are offered theopportunity to be ‘teaching assistant’ on different topics.Students were asked to volunteer to be a ‘coach’ or ‘mentor’ on the topics they felt verycomfortable. The responsibilities of the coach and mentor are:MENTOR: To be a resource, answer questions, check the practice and homework beforesubmission.COACH: To coach 2 students, take them through practice and homework, attend their practicepresentation and check their practice and homework to make sure they will pass it successfully.Extensive research in education has established the benefits of peer mentoring and coaching toboth sides. Its implementation in the classroom, however, is not that simple due to students’perceptions of each other and lack of total trust.We introduced these groups of students as a class resource. Students may request a mentor andor a coach. They may also choose to attend weekly sessions offered by the ‘teachers’. The classitself is video-achieved on school computers and edited class lectures and tutorials aredisseminated on YouTube.Assessment of the outcomes has presented a mixed set of results. While surveys indicated thatboth coaches and mentors benefitted from the arrangement, the success rate as measured by thegrades did not show a significant improvement. Steps to improve the process are underway forthe next offering of the course.

Salimian, M., & Mahmud, Y. (2014, June), Impact of Mentoring and Coaching on Student Performance in an Operations Research Class Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20588

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