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Improving Student Engagement in Engineering Classrooms: The First Step toward a Course Delivery Framework using Brain-based Learning Techniques

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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

Works in Progress: Learning and Engagement

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Vimal Kumar Viswanathan Tuskegee University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Vimal Viswanathan is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Tuskegee University. He earned his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. His research interests include design innovation, creativity, design theory and engineering education.

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John T. Solomon Tuskegee University

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John T. Solomon is an assistant professor in the mechanical engineering department of Tuskegee University. He received Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Florida State University, USA in 2010. Prior joining Tuskegee University he was working as a Research Associate in Florida Center for Advanced Aero Propulsion and an Adjunct Faculty at Florida State University. Dr. Solomon's research interests include high speed flow control, actuator development, experimental fluid mechanics, renewable energy and engineering education.

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This paper presents the findings from a preliminary study concerning the engagement of students in engineering courses at (name of the university will be added later), which is a historically black college/university (HBCU). While student retention is a challenge in many STEM programs, it is a very critical concern in HBCUs. Lack of engagement of students in classrooms is identified as one of the contributing factors to the high drop out rates in engineering programs. The study described in this paper is a first step in an effort to introduce the brain-based learning techniques in engineering classrooms. The instructors of mechanical engineering courses are systematically introducing pre-developed tools, referred to as “PROTOCOLs”, to deliver their course materials in the classrooms. This paper presents the findings from the preliminary data collected from a fluid mechanics class to explore the challenges that the engineering students face that negatively influence their engagement in classrooms. The key findings include the factors such as the gaps in their pre-requisite knowledge, their inability to relate theory to practice, and their inability to establish connections between related concepts. The paper presents the quantitative data pertaining to these categories along with their statistical interpretation. Further, the paper will detail how the proposed brain-based learning tools will supplement the existing teaching methods to improve student engagement by addressing many of these concerns.

Viswanathan, V. K., & Solomon, J. T. (2016, June), Improving Student Engagement in Engineering Classrooms: The First Step toward a Course Delivery Framework using Brain-based Learning Techniques Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25628

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