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Inspiring Student Engagement through Two-Minute Follies

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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

Innovative Teaching Techniques in the Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.762.1 - 24.762.29



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Paper Authors


James L. Klosky P.E. U.S. Military Academy

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Led Klosky is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civl and Mechanical Engineering at West Point. He is a past winner of ASEE's National Teaching Medal and works primarily in the areas of Engineering Education and Infrastructure.

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Scott M. Katalenich U.S. Military Academy

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Major Scott Katalenich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY. He received his B.S. from the United States Military Academy, M.Phil. in Engineering from the University of Cambridge, and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Stanford University. He is a licensed Professional Engineer (Alaska), LEED Accredited Professional, and Envision Sustainability Professional. His research interests include sustainable design, construction, infrastructure, and engineering education.

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Berndt Spittka P.E. U.S. Military Academy

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Seamus F. Freyne Mississippi State University

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Inspiring Student Engagement through Two-Minute FolliesShort, in-class, student presentations are an effective way to inspire student engagement whilesimultaneously improving communication skills. As part of three courses in different CivilEngineering topics including Infrastructure, Structures, and Sustainability at XXXX and XXXX(for reviewer - two very different institutions), the authors have introduced a student presentationconcept dubbed “Two-Minute Follies.” This paper discusses and demonstrates with supportingdata that Two-Minute Follies are simple to execute, consume a small amount of time, and engagestudents more directly in their own education while at the same time building the student’spresentation confidence and style. By engaging the student in a direct way that provides anopportunity to share with their peers, the student is encouraged to progress in Bloom’sTaxonomy. The student also builds skills that are necessary for life-long learning, a traditionallydifficult skill set for undergraduates to fully embody.The concept is to assign a two-minute student presentation which will open each class session.Creativity is encouraged, but the timing is rigidly enforced. PowerPoint or other media content istightly constrained such that the two minutes are focused on the student’s presentation skills andthe topic at hand rather than the media employed. Direct observation, course-end feedback bystudents, and external observation by educators not in the course all indicate that the techniqueworks very well. Specifically, the benefits demonstrated include:  Letting students investigate a topic of their choice increases their engagement with the material  Student presentations considerably enrich the educational experience by introducing topics that students are excited about and which would otherwise be absent from the course  Observing fellow students directly engage course-related material encourages life-long learning through peer modeling  Students develop essential summarizing and presentation skills  Very little instructional time is lost if executed in a disciplined wayThe authors discuss the details of the Two-Minute Follies technique and its measured benefits aswell as provide support for employing this assignment in a variety of courses.

Klosky, J. L., & Katalenich, S. M., & Spittka, B., & Freyne, S. F. (2014, June), Inspiring Student Engagement through Two-Minute Follies Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20654

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