June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.1020.1 - 12.1020.8
Most engineering programs are secure in their assessment means for the technical skills described in ABET Criterion 3a-k. However, not so clear, is the answer to defining, teaching and assessing the professional outcomes (teamwork, professional and ethical responsibility, communication, impact of engineering solutions, life-long learning, and contemporary issues). The outcome pertaining to life-long learning raises many questions including; what constitutes life-long learning; how will we demonstrate that our graduates recognize the need for and have the ability to lifelong learn; and last but not least, how will we measure this attribute in our graduates? Literature on lifelong learning provides more than the definition, but concrete assessment instruments are not readily available1. This poses a challenge because the engineering community strives to implement quantifiable instruments to assess the outcomes. Some researchers makes the statement that the "motivated person is a lifelong learner, and the lifelong learner is a motivated person" 2. The question to ask is, how can we measure motivation? The newest widely accepted learning theory, constructivism, represents a paradigm in which learners construct knowledge for themselves. The basic premise is that an individual learner must actively "build" knowledge and skills3. What is more active than having to sign on to the class website, and take the time to link the various extra resources the professor has provided? This paper will describe a work in progress to use Blackboard’s tracking tool to assess this active construction of knowledge which can be linked to the “Recognition of need for and ability to engage in life-long learning”. At the initial stage our plan does not create a validated predictive instrument, but tries to compare the grades of students who utilize the resources available on a very interactive Blackboard course website to those who do not and infer that this will contribute to choices to engage in lifelong learning.
Criteria 3 of ABET 2000 includes professional skills one of which is the propensity for lifelong learning. Research and studies on lifelong learning provides many varied opinions, but concrete assessment instruments are not readily available1. This poses a challenge because the engineering community strives to implement quantifiable instruments to assess the outcomes. Some researchers makes the statement that the "motivated person is a lifelong learner, and the lifelong learner is a motivated person" 2. Once again, how can we measure motivation? The newest widely accepted learning theory, constructivism, represents a paradigm in which learners construct knowledge for themselves and this forms the base for thinking about Lifelong learning. The basic premise is that an individual learner must actively "build" knowledge and skills 3. We know that technology changes with time and an engineer must be motivated to continue to learn and stay current with technology. Constructivism is a method of teaching and learning based on the principle that cognition (learning) is the result of mental construction, and this construction in quite individual. Knowledge is formed by reflecting on our experiences, by putting information together with what we already thereby we construct knowledge in our head. Thus, we create our own understanding of the world we live in. Learning is the process of adjusting our mental models to fit with new experiences. Constructivist theorists maintain that people learn best when they actively construct their own understanding. This is what we hope our graduates will be able to accomplish.
Waters, C. (2007, June), Let Blackboard Tracking Ease The Pain Of Assessing Outcome I Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2066
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