New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Statics is one of the fundamental courses required for engineering students, particularly for students in the mechanical, civil and aerospace fields. This course introduces students to modeling and solving real-world systems, including drawing Free Body Diagrams (FBD) and setting up equilibrium equations. These two skills are critical for bridging introductory courses to more advanced courses, such as Dynamics, Mechanics of Materials and others. The process of teaching these foundational skills typically involves giving students opportunities to hone their problem solving skills through homework assignments and exams. In this paper, the authors introduce reflection as a tool to gauge understanding, confidence and performance. This too is used to intervene in homework assignments and exams in order to enhance and improve students’ meta-cognitive awareness and self-regulated learning.
Homework and exam wrappers are reflection activities that prompt students to review their graded assignments and exams, and encourage students to reconsider their study habits and preparations. In this course, four short self-assessments were designed to help students identify their strengths and weaknesses by reflecting on their performances, the mistakes they made, their confidence in certain concepts, and views on best strategies for completing homework assignments and preparing for take-home exams in the future. Two of these wrappers were implemented after the graded homework assignments were returned to the students, and the other two were part of exam reflection. At the end of the course, the students completed an anonymous survey about the reflective activities.
Analyses focused on several different aspects of the homework and exam wrappers: number of mistakes made, levels of confidence, study strategies and students’ satisfaction on their performance. The findings suggest wrappers can have an important impact on students’ learning in engineering statics. Quantitative findings highlight several bright spots demonstrating positive impact of wrappers while qualitative findings present a strong argument for the use of wrappers in teaching and learning. Wrappers are also proven to provide the teaching team with information about students’ understanding of content and level of skills so that appropriate measures and actions can be taken to help students who are struggling in the course. Future work will include devising reliable quantitative measures for metacognitive skills, gathering more data to obtain a larger sample size, and redesigning of wrappers to optimize mutual benefits for both students and the teaching team.
Chew, K. J., & Chen, H. L., & Rieken, B., & Turpin, A., & Sheppard, S. (2016, June), Improving Students’ Learning in Statics Skills: Using Homework and Exam Wrappers to Strengthen Self-regulated Learning Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25633
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