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Introducing an Instructional Model in Undergraduate Electric Power Energy Systems Curriculum-Part (I): Authoritative vs. Dialogic Discourse in Problem-Centered Learning

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

New Trends in ECE Education I

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.814.1 - 23.814.16



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Paper Authors


Jia-Ling Lin University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

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Dr. Jia-Ling Lin is a research scientist in the STEM Education Center at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Her research interests are in areas of developing and exploring innovative instructional models in undergraduate engineering education and embodied theoretical claims about effective teaching and learning, particularly in discipline-based problem solving.

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Paul Imbertson University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Tamara J Moore University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Orcid 16x16

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Tamara J. Moore, Ph.D., is the Executive Co-Director of the STEM Education Center and Associate Professor of Mathematics/Engineering Education at the University of Minnesota. Her research and teaching pursuits are situated in the learning and teaching of STEM fields through the integration of these subjects in formal and non-formal learning environments. Her particular focus is how engineering and engineering thinking promote learning in K-12 mathematics and science classrooms, as well as in higher-education engineering classrooms through the paradigm of STEM integration. She is creating and testing innovative, interdisciplinary curricular approaches that engage students in developing models of real world problems/solutions and working with educators to shift their expectations and instructional practice to facilitate effective STEM integration.

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Introducing an Instructional Model in Undergraduate Electric Power Energy Systems Curriculum-Part (I): “Monological (Authoritative)” vs. Dialogic Discourse in a Problem-Centered Learning Classroom In light of statistics showing shrinking enrollment in undergraduate electric energysystems curriculum, the power programs nationwide have reacted responsively. There isconsensus among educators that the quality of engineering teaching needs to be improved, andthat the content and delivery of traditional lectures fail to motivate students to meet learningchallenges and job requirements. The Department of Electric and Computer Engineering at aLarge research extensive Mid-Western University has provided a comprehensive plan to revampthe electric energy systems core courses. One of the fundamental changes in instructionalapproaches for the new curriculum is to utilize problem-centered learning during regular in-classsessions. Students are instructed to learn theories and content by watching online video modulesbefore coming to the class, and will solve problems with peers inside the classroom. Ourresearch is to establish an instructional model for widespread dissemination of electric energysystem curriculum and to provide insights into how the new curriculum engages students inlearning. It will examine several factors that impact student learning in real educational settings:how instructors teach, how students learn, and how learning environment influences learning. Itwill also investigate whether interactions between teaching and learning in such educationalsettings help create productive learning conditions suggested by theory but not yet wellunderstood. The current report focuses on instructions for problem-centered learning classrooms. Weuse the phrase of problem-centered learning consciously to avoid invoking mistakenidentification with problem-based learning and emphasize teaching practices that problematizethe content. We apply design-based-research (DBR) methods to develop and explore variousinnovative learning activities in classroom. Design-based-research methods require a productivepartnership between the course instructor and researchers, enabling iterative cycles to improvelearning activities. Throughout the semester, the course instructor met with researchers regularlyto refine instructional approaches. Sixty students, among 111 who enrolled in the course,participated in the research and responded to a survey that was intended to know if students wereaware of instructional changes and if students took advantages of improved learning conditions.The survey also gathered information about metacognitive learning in the setting under the study.Classroom observations by researchers provided the course instructor with feedback thatsynchronized the development of teaching practices and understanding of the embodiedtheoretical claims about teaching and learning. The report will describe a Four-Step instructionalmodel that includes anticipating, monitoring, contrasting, and contextualized lecturing inproblem-centered learning. It will explain how the model fosters interactive communications andeffectively engages students in meaningful learning. The report will also discuss the degree towhich classroom discourse is “monological” vs. dialogic, and how it enhances the contextualizedlecturing in particular.

Lin, J., & Imbertson, P., & Moore, T. J. (2013, June), Introducing an Instructional Model in Undergraduate Electric Power Energy Systems Curriculum-Part (I): Authoritative vs. Dialogic Discourse in Problem-Centered Learning Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19828

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