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Integrating Evidence-based Learning in Engineering and Computer Science Gateway Courses

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Collaboration and Communication in Problem-based Learning

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Xiang Zhao Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Xiang (Susie) Zhao, Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Alabama A&M University, has over 20 years of teaching experience in traditional on-campus settings or online format at several universities in US and aboard. Her teaching and research interests include numerical modeling & simulation, high performance algorithm design, data mining, and evidence-based STEM teaching pedagogies. Her recent research work has been funded by DOE, NRC, NASA and NSF, and generated over 50 journal and conference papers.

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Showkat Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

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Dr. Showkat Chowdhury is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate and graduate students in Mechanical Engineering, and performing research in the fields of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Pedagogy, Renewable Energy, Nano-Technology, Heat & Mass Transfer, and Combustion. He is managing multi-million dollar external research grants from NSF as PI. Previously, he worked as a Professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) and at University of Brighton, U.K. He also worked in the Research Division of Corning Inc. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, New York and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BUET.

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Tamara Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

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Tamara Chowdhury is an Assistant Professor & Coordinator of Construction Management Program in the Department of Mechanical & Civil Engineering and Construction Management at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Prof. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate students in the Department of Civil Engineering, Construction Management and conducting research. She also worked for a multinational research organization for many years. Prof. Chowdhury earned her MS in Civil engineering from Clarkson University, New York, USA and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology.

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Gateway Courses generally refers to the courses that are crucial for students to progress through their chosen majors. The successful completion of the gateway courses are necessary because these courses are mostly the prerequisites of other courses in the majors. However, many types of attritions in the STEM gateway courses lead to high failure rates. To tackle this challenge, a team of STEM faculty members at Alabama A&M University (AAMU), a land-granted HBCU, has redesigned the gateway courses in computer science, mechanical engineering and construction management by replacing the lecture-dominated practices with evidence-based teaching pedagogies. In this study, two evidence-based pedagogies, problem-based learning and project-based learning have been implemented and tested in different levels of STEM gateway courses in the last three years. An assessment framework has been established to analyze the effect of the implemented pedagogies. Continuous assessment data have been collected and compared with the baseline data collected in the lecture-dominated same courses. Student surveys have been conducted and analyzed as well. Our study showed the evidence-based teaching practices fostered both the students’ cognitive and non-cognitive skills. The DFW rates were also decreased in all semesters in all the targeted STEM gateway courses in this study. Based upon the success and lessons learned, our future work will expand and test the interventions in more gateway courses across STEM disciplines at AAMU, to enhance the minority student success, retention and graduation.

Zhao, X., & Chowdhury, S., & Chowdhury, T. (2020, June), Integrating Evidence-based Learning in Engineering and Computer Science Gateway Courses Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34842

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