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Interactive Learning In Engineering Education

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Issues of Cooperative Education II

Tagged Division

Cooperative & Experiential Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.782.1 - 13.782.8



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Paper Authors


Jean-Claude Thomassian State University of New York, Maritime College

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Dr. Jean-Claude Thomassian received his BS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toledo in 1992 and 1993, respectively, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from The University of Toledo in 1995 and 2002. His main professional interests are in mixed mode IC design and electrical engineering education; his recent research activity concentrates on symbolic analysis of circuits and MOS models.

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Anoop Desai Georgia Southern University

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Dr. Anoop Desai received his BS degree in Production Engineering from the University of Bombay in 1999, and MS and Ph.D. degrees in Industrial Engineering from The University of Cincinnati in 2002 and 2006. His main research interests are in Product Lifecycle Management, Design for the Environment, Total Quality Management including tools for Six Sigma and Ergonomics.

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Patrick kinnicutt Central Michigan University

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Dr. Patrick Kinnicutt received his SB and SM degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1989 and 1991, respectively. He received his PhD in Information Technology in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995. Dr. Kinnicutt is currently an Assistant Professor of Science Informatics at Central Michigan University, where he holds a joint appointment in the Geology and Computer Science Departments. His areas of research include spatial modeling and visualization, applications of non-Euclidean distance metrics in geotatistical modeling, applied image processing.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Interactive Learning in Engineering Education


Incorporating active/cooperative learning into traditional instruction can be a useful pedagogical tool to help students collectively work on a project inside and outside of class time. They can also be held responsible to finish the work if they don’t show enough interest to complete the tasks. The learner-centered pedagogy of incorporating projects into formal instruction is assessed and some observations pertaining to this experience are cited. To achieve this goal, a design project is chosen at the beginning of the course in order to motivate and verify/go over course content and to make students work in teams. The experience will be measured by student’s responses to a survey and their ability to complete a wide variety of tasks related to the subject matter.


We decided to introduce Active/Cooperative Learning techniques in engineering education to engage and motivate students in the learning process inside and outside of class time. To achieve this goal, design projects designed to make students work in teams are assigned during the course of the semester. Active learning techniques are not new [1-7]. On the other hand, its support for teaching at the university level has been a hot topic of research in recent years [8-19]. According to Bonwell and Eison, Active Learning is described as follows: "When using active learning students are engaged in more activities than just listening. They are involved in dialog, debate, writing, and problem solving, as well as higher-order thinking, e.g., analysis, synthesis, evaluation." [4].

According to Johnson, Johnson, and Smith, Cooperative Learning is described as follows: "Is an instructional paradigm in which teams of students work on structured tasks (e.g., homework assignments, laboratory experiments, or design projects) under conditions that meet five criteria: positive interdependence, individual accountability, face-to-face interaction, appropriate use of collaborative skills, and regular self-assessment of team functioning. Many studies have shown that when correctly implemented, cooperative learning improves information acquisition and retention, higher-level thinking skills, interpersonal and communication skills, and self- confidence.” [6].

Regardless of the subject matter, research has shown that active/cooperative learning is an effective teaching technique compared to using traditional instruction alone such as lectures. By using Active/Cooperative Learning techniques students seem to, 1) learn more material, 2) remember the information longer, 3) enjoy the subject matter more, 4) establish peer relationship and 5) have near perfect attendance. So, instead of the students learning on their own, now, students learn in the classroom with the help of the instructor and other students; outside of the classroom they must work together in groups and individually be held accountable for completion of the tasks.

Thomassian, J., & Desai, A., & kinnicutt, P. (2008, June), Interactive Learning In Engineering Education Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3271

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