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Measuring Engineering Classroom Community: Learning And Connectedness Of Students

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Innovative Classroom Techniques

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.918.1 - 11.918.14



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Paper Authors

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Todd Johnson Washington State University


Reid Miller Washington State University

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Dr. Miller is Professor of Chemical Engineering and former Dean of Engineering and Architecture at
WSU. He has taught the ?gateway? ChE 201 course (Chemical Process Principles and Calculations)
three of the past six years, has extensively revamped the follow-on sophomore-level course (ChE211? Chemical Process Simulation), and regularly teaches the junior-level thermodynamics course. He is participating in development of a new freshman-level course (ChE110 ? Introduction to Chemical Engineering), which he is now teaching. He has been selected by students as the outstanding teacher in chemical engineering six of the past ten years since stepping down as dean. He has been active in ASEE and attended numerous workshops on improvement of instruction. He has implemented collaborative learning activities and writing assignments in his classes.

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

Measuring Engineering Classroom Community: Learning and Connectedness of Students


The Collaborative Learner-constructed Engineering-concept Articulation and Representation (CLEAR) model was used to explore how the introduction of visually represented materials and the use of blended instruction (i.e., online class sessions, group concept visualization projects, threaded discussions, etc.) impact the sense of community students experience with their peers in the classroom in comparison to a more traditionally taught class. Results reveal that implementation of some of these concepts can result in better retention in a sophomore level chemical engineering course, with student work and course satisfaction at or above the level of those completing a traditional version of the course. The use of online course work was also found to effectively replace some classroom experiences in the blended delivery section. However, an implication of this blended delivery was increased time requirements reported by both faculty and students.


Fewer than 50% of students pursuing engineering degrees actually complete them1. Retention and success of engineering students hinge heavily on their academic performance in “gateway” classes, and all too often these classes are places where students drop out of the engineering pipeline. To solve engineering student learning problems leading to them dropping out of these gateway courses will require adoption of proven educational practices2. Major investments by the National Science Foundation, US Department of Education, and other agencies have been directed at understanding the issues and identifying solutions to student learning. For many, based on the research, students learn best when they set goals for their study, engage in active study, add meaning to what they are learning, explain their understanding to others, and self- monitor their success in achieving goals3-6.

Accepting the challenge to address and understand retention issues of engineering students, the Collaborative Learner-constructed Engineering-concept Articulation and Representation (CLEAR) project has as its goal to develop a model for instructional implementation with core “gateway” engineering classes to significantly improve learning, social development, and sense of community in the classroom for engineering students. Outcomes of the model would be to increase retention of engineering students beyond the core classes through instructional methods using collaboratively developed, learner-constructed visual representations of engineering concepts, with each improving student satisfaction in engineering courses7-9. Steps in this instructional process include the learner-constructed visual representation of course material, presentation of their visualized concepts for peer feedback and discussion, receipt of expert critique to strengthen their understanding and correct misconceptions, and then solidify their understanding through reflective writing. In this paper, we will share with you the pilot study outcomes regarding student learning, retention, and satisfaction based on the implementation of the Collaborative Learner-constructed Engineering-concept Articulation and Representation

Johnson, T., & Miller, R. (2006, June), Measuring Engineering Classroom Community: Learning And Connectedness Of Students Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--267

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