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Is There a Connection Between Classroom Practices and Attitudes Towards Student-Centered Learning in Engineering?

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Supporting Faculty in Course Development and Pedagogy

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30735

Download Count

103

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Paper Authors

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Lydia Ross Arizona State University

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Lydia Ross is a doctoral candidate and graduate research assistant at Arizona State University. She is a third year student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program. Her research interests focus on higher education equity and access, particularly within STEM.

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Eugene Judson Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-0124-8476

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Eugene Judson is an Associate Professor of for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He also serves as an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). His past experiences include having been a middle school science teacher, Director of Academic and Instructional Support for the Arizona Department of Education, a research scientist for the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET), and an evaluator for several NSF projects. His first research strand concentrates on the relationship between educational policy and STEM education. His second research strand focuses on studying STEM classroom interactions and subsequent effects on student understanding. He is a co-developer of the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) and his work has been cited more than 2200 times and he has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Casey Jane Ankeny Northwestern University

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Casey J. Ankeny, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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Stephen J. Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Robert J. Culbertson Arizona State University

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Robert J. Culbertson is an Associate Professor of Physics. Currently, he teaches introductory mechanics and electrodynamics for physics majors and a course in musical acoustics, which was specifically designed for elementary education majors. He is director of the ASU Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project, which strives to produce more and better high school physics teachers. He is also director of Master of Natural Science degree program, a graduate program designed for in-service science teachers. He works on improving persistence of students in STEM majors, especially under-prepared students and students from under-represented groups.

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Keith D. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Keith D. Hjelmstad is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University.

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Lindy Hamilton Mayled Arizona State University

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Lindy Hamilton Mayled is a PhD candidate at Grand Canyon University. She is pursuing her PhD in Psychology of Learning, Education, and Technology. Her background in in K-12 education where she has served as a high school science teacher, Instructional and Curriculum Coach, and Assistant Principal. Her research and areas of interest are in improving STEM educational outcomes for Low-SES students through the integration of active learning and technology-enabled frequent feedback. She currently works as the Project Manager for the NSF faculty development program based on evidence-based teaching practices.

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Kristi Glassmeyer Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-7665-7768

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Kristi is a first-year Ph.D student in Educational Policy and Evaluation at Arizona State University.

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James A. Middleton Arizona State University

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James A. Middleton is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology at Arizona State University. For the last three years he also held the Elmhurst Energy Chair in STEM education at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Previously, Dr. Middleton was Associate Dean for Research in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, and Director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar.

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Kara L. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Kara Hjelmstad is a faculty associate in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University.

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Abstract

This study examines the relationships between observed classroom practices and reported dispositions towards student-centered learning. Participants were engineering faculty taking part in an NSF-funded professional development program. The professional development program, which began in 2016, involves the promotion of active learning strategies through a series of discipline-based workshops, as well as facilitated communities-of-practice sessions.

To assess faculty dispositions towards, and use of, specific active learning strategies, the Value, Expectancy, and Cost of Testing Educational Reforms Survey (VECTERS) was utilized. VECTERS surveys dispositions towards, as well as current and planned use of, three particular active learning strategies: formative feedback, student-to-student discussions, and real-world applications, all of which were specifically emphasized within the professional development program. VECTERS prompts respondents to consider each strategy and consider the degree to which they (a) expect the strategy to be successful, (b) find it valuable, and (c) believe it is costly (e.g., time, resources). VECTERS was administered three times throughout the program to collect faculty attitudes before, during, and after participating in the workshops, across the fall and spring semesters. Since self-reported practices can be biased, classroom observations were also conducted. Classroom observation data were collected via the 25-item Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP). The RTOP instrument, designed specifically for STEM classrooms, allows trained observers to quantify the extent to which instructors employ student-centered learning strategies.

Data from VECTERS and RTOP were initially analyzed individually to assess changes over the course of one academic year, in which participants (n = 20) were enrolled in the professional development program. Analysis of pre- to post-VECTERS indicated significant changes (p < .05) in expectancy and value of real-world applications and of formative feedback. Respondents also indicated significant changes in current (12%) and planned (15%) use of real-world applications in their classroom practices. From early fall to late spring, mean RTOP scores of participants increased by 22% (p < .05).

This study focused on comparing beliefs about student-centered instruction (as measured by VECTERS) and observed practices (as measured by RTOP). Formative feedback expectancy was positively and significantly correlated to mean RTOP scores (p < .05), while perception of the cost of integrating formative feedback in the classroom was negatively correlated with mean RTOP scores (p < .05). This negative relationship indicates faculty who were observed to be integrating high levels of student-centered strategies were more inclined to report the integration of formative feedback as having a low cost of implementation.

Additionally, participants reported use of student-to-student discussions was highly, and positively correlated with RTOP scores during the fall semester (p < .05), which indicates a connection between perceived beliefs/use and actual implementation. Finally, to further explore the relationships, we examined individual items on RTOP that corresponded with the specific strategies from VECTERS; as expected some of these items were significantly correlated with observed practices in RTOP. A full discussion of results will be presented in the final paper.

Ross, L., & Judson, E., & Ankeny, C. J., & Krause, S. J., & Culbertson, R. J., & Hjelmstad, K. D., & Mayled, L. H., & Glassmeyer, K., & Middleton, J. A., & Hjelmstad, K. L. (2018, June), Is There a Connection Between Classroom Practices and Attitudes Towards Student-Centered Learning in Engineering? Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30735

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