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Integrating Novel Methods and Existing Tools to Enrich Nontraditional Learning Experiences

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Biological & Agricultural Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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Paper Authors


Shannon Banner North Carolina State University

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Mrs. Banner is a research assistant and is currently pursuing her PhD in Biological and Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University. Her research is focused on modeling environmental impact and economic feasibility of technology systems applied to animal waste management. She is a member of ASABE and SWE. Address: Weaver Laboratories, Campus Box 7625, Raleigh, NC 27695 Phone: 336-577-3757

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John J. Classen North Carolina State University

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Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, North Carolina State University. Professional interests focus on nutrient and value recovery from food animal production systems, food security, and graduate education.

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The methodology described in this working paper is a module designed to teach the concepts of environmental and economic analysis which are then reinforced through a decision-making game applied to resource recovery in animal agriculture. In this digital age information transfer is increasingly being carried out through non-traditional outlets and open source platforms (i.e. Moodle and Sakai) which provide new opportunities to enhance and complement hands-on learning. In 2018 the concept of virtual learning is well established but the application of games and game-design elements as a part of learning is still a largely underutilized tool in most sectors. Incorporating new ways to disseminate information with well-established existing methods provides a potentially more effective platform for teaching complex topics. In addition, these methods help to build versatile communication skills that can be widely applied to different industries, environments, problems, and users.

The initial version of the module was developed in Moodle 3.2 and implemented in a graduate level distance learning animal waste management class at North Carolina State University. The first part of the module was created using the Moodle book activity and included short chapters in which topic-specific information was presented using multiple types of media (text, presentations, videos, and references). The second part of the module incorporated a novel game element where the students took on the role of a consultant tasked with helping a farmer make decisions about implementing different technologies to manage on-farm waste and nutrients. The effectiveness of the module and the learning techniques were evaluated through the use of pre and post surveys as well as graded quizzes. Survey feedback from pre and post surveys indicated that there was an overall increase in the students’ familiarity and understanding of terminology and concepts after completion of the module. While the initial version was designed to be completed within a two-week timeframe, future development will include a second and more refined version based on feedback received from participant surveys that could in time produce a generic and adaptable stand-alone tool used for information transfer applied to variable topic areas and stakeholders.

Banner, S., & Classen, J. J. (2018, June), Integrating Novel Methods and Existing Tools to Enrich Nontraditional Learning Experiences Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30687

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