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Implementing Peer Led Team Learning In Gateway Science And Mathematics Courses For Engineering Majors

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Potpourri of First-Year Issues

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

15.685.1 - 15.685.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16650

Download Count

23

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Paper Authors

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Benjamin Flores UTEP

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James Becvar UTEP

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Ann Darnell UTEP

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Helmut Knaust UTEP

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Jorge Lopez UTEP

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Josefina Tinajero UTEP

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

Implementing Peer Led Team Learning in Gateway Science and Mathematics Courses for Engineering Majors

Abstract

The large lecture format found in most introductory mathematics and science courses is generally not conducive to a teaching-learning process that would allow for the development of professional skills such as team work, oral and written communication, and time management. Motivated by a successful experience in a general chemistry course, we have implemented workshops based on the Peer Led Team Learning (PLTL) model that engages every engineering student enrolled in the introductory chemistry, mathematics, and physics courses through a guided-process and inquiry-based strategy utilizing small group settings. For this purpose we replaced one hour of lecture with a two-hour small-group workshop. Workshops are guided by an advanced undergraduate peer leader who has successfully completed the course with a grade of A or B. The courses included in this project are pre-calculus, general chemistry 1 and 2, mechanics, and fields and waves. We anticipate that the implementation of PLTL will result in improvements in learning that will positively impact second year retention and success in subsequent engineering courses. One of the key factors in this approach will be the performance of peer leaders as facilitators and role models for engineering students. Peer leaders are trained following a schedule that includes a pre-semester induction session, weekly preview sessions, and an end of semester debriefing session. The induction generally lasts three days and involves faculty engaging peer leaders in cooperative-style learning and knowledge constructivism activities that they can subsequently apply in the workshops. In this session peer leaders also learn tips for small classroom management. Weekly preview sessions with faculty cover course content and pedagogical approaches. Lessons learned and ongoing challenges are discussed during the end of semester debriefing sessions. The formative assessment of PLTL workshops includes a survey to obtain opinions of the peer leader experience, determine the actual time spent preparing for workshops, gauge amount of interaction between peer leaders and instructors, and identify additional training needs. On average, peer leaders agree or strongly agree that the workshops significantly aid students in developing problem solving skills and better preparing for examinations. The amount of time that peer leaders dedicate to preparing for workshop varies significantly even within discipline but they all felt that the amount of time dedicated to the endeavor was just right. Peer leaders also identified a number of valuable outcomes including improvements in teamwork, organization, communication, and goal setting. Nearly all of them indicated that the time spent coordinating with faculty was used efficiently and expressed an interest in continuing as workshop leaders in the immediate future. Although this effort is work in progress, the results from the peer leaders’ perspective indicate that the workshops indeed add value to the education of engineering majors.

1. Introduction

Historically, the large lecture format found in most introductory mathematics and science courses is not conducive to a teaching-learning process that develops professional skills such as team work, oral and written communication, and time management. As noted by Felder1, “learners do not learn much in situations that require them to be passive, and … do not learn much in

Flores, B., & Becvar, J., & Darnell, A., & Knaust, H., & Lopez, J., & Tinajero, J. (2010, June), Implementing Peer Led Team Learning In Gateway Science And Mathematics Courses For Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16650

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2010 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015