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Improving Student Engagement Via Content Personalization

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.719.1 - 23.719.6



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Paper Authors


Christopher D. Schmitz University of Illinois Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Christopher Schmitz was born in Pana, Illinois in 1969. Pana Senior High valedictorian in 1988, he went on to receive his B.S. with university honors and M.S. (fault-tolerant adaptive systems) in ECE from the University of Illinois. In 1995, he joined TRW Space and Electronics Group in the areas of satellite communication and antenna systems before returning to the University of Illinois in 1997. There, he completed his Ph.D. in the area of multiuser communication in 2002. As an academic professional, he investigated multiple-microphone hearing systems and wireless hearing system links from 2002 to 2008 and served as a visiting lecturer from 2005 to 2011 at the university. His research interests are in adaptive digital signal processing, digital communications, and education pedagogy. He currently serves the ECE department of his alma mater as lecturer, research specialist, and chief undergraduate advisor.

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Michael C. Loui University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Michael C. Loui is a professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and University Distinguished Teacher-Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His interests include computational complexity theory, professional ethics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He serves as editor of the Journal of Engineering Education and as a member of the College Teaching and Accountability in Research editorial boards. He is a Carnegie scholar and an IEEE fellow. Professor Loui was associate dean of the Graduate College at Illinois from 1996 to 2000. He directed the theory of computing program at the National Science Foundation from 1990 to 1991. He earned the Ph.D. at M.I.T. in 1980.

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Renata A Revelo University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Improving Student Engagement Via Content PersonalizationA general education course in engineering can be challenging to teach because non-engineeringstudents have widely different levels of scientific knowledge, mathematical abilities,programming skills, and technology experiences. Consequently, if the course aims at the"average" student, many students will find the course material either too easy or too difficult.Further, when the material seems irrelevant, students are likely to become disengaged. In thisstudy, students' previous experiences are used to personalize the course material throughout thesemester. When students find the course material relevant, they are likely to become engaged andto achieve deep learning (Barkley, 2010). We have implemented content personalization in ageneral education course on digital information technologies. This four-credit course is offeredevery semester with 30 to 60 students. By continually applying the course topics towardspersonal interests, the students were primed to tackle a final project where they were encouragedand guided while applying their skills to a project of personal interest. We are assessing levels ofstudents' engagement and gathering data about students' ability and determination to continueapplying their knowledge in the years after they complete the course. We have found thatinterviewed students showed persistence in the course even when they had great apprehensionearly on. These students also commented positively on the course's hands-on experiences suchas the final project. The majority of students said that the project increased their confidenceabout tackling future technical projects either on their own or through other courses. Finally,many of the interviewed students said that practical laboratory and Web development skills wereimportant in their future courses and professional careers.Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student engagement techniques: A handbook for college faculty. SanFrancisco: Jossey-Bass.

Schmitz, C. D., & Loui, M. C., & Revelo, R. A. (2013, June), Improving Student Engagement Via Content Personalization Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19733

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