Asee peer logo

Learning By Teaching In Engineering Technology Education

Download Paper |


2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.847.1 - 9.847.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Rex Fisher

Download Paper |

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

Session 1793

Learning by Teaching in Engineering Technology Education

Rex N. Fisher Brigham Young University – Idaho


Engineering technology professors usually receive little or no training in effective teaching methods. Most of them teach the same, ineffective way they were taught—by lecturing. This paper examines a method that can be used to actively engage students in their own learning: “learning by teaching.” A sophomore-level electronics engineering technology course was conducted so that most of the material was taught by the students themselves. They presented the material and evaluated each other’s mastery of it. This transfer of control from the professor to the students had several benefits: (1) more motivation to learn, (2) better understanding of the material, (3) development of important non-technical skills, and (4) surprising creativity that taught the professor as much as the students.


The clock shows 9:00 a.m. and the class lecture begins. You draw two block diagrams on the board and start comparing an open-loop control system to a closed-loop one. Tom and Jack are in the back row whispering to each other about last night’s date. Bill is more interested in his Egg McMuffin than in what you have to say. Emily’s head seems glued to the desk. Are her eyes even open? After a few minutes, even those who were paying attention at first seem to be thinking about almost anything else.

Nearly every college professor has been through this at one time or another—probably frequently. Some blame themselves for this failure to engage students in class. Others accuse the students as being irresponsible and apathetic. But what is really going on here, and how can it be remedied?

Engineering technology professors usually receive little or no training in effective teaching methods. Most of them teach the same way they were taught—by lecturing. According to McKeachie, “Effective lecturers combine the talents of scholar, writer, producer, comedian, entertainer, and teacher in ways that contribute to student learning.” 1 He goes on to explain that few teachers can combine all of these things successfully. Even those that do, find it impossible to accomplish every single day.

Lecturing certainly has its uses: conveying large amounts of information, covering material that is too new to be in textbooks, and sharing the professor’s personal experiences and enthusiasm Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Fisher, R. (2004, June), Learning By Teaching In Engineering Technology Education Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13768

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2004 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015