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Measuring Student Perceptions Of Case Based Instruction In An Engineering Course

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.877.1 - 13.877.5



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Paper Authors


Megan Arnold Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Megan Arnold is a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Special Education at Purdue University. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and has a background in quantitative research with a specific interest in improving instruction for students with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) with difficulties in math, as well as in improving undergraduate education for students in the engineering field.

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Aman Yadav Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Aman Yadav, PhD, Assistant Professor. Aman Yadav is a faculty member within the Educational Psychology Program at Purdue University. In addition to his PhD in Educational Psychology and
Educational Technology, Dr. Yadav also has Bachelors in Electrical Engineering and Masters of Science in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Yadav has undertaken both quantitative and qualitative research projects and has a strong familiarity with both types of analyses. His research includes the use of case-based instruction in STEM

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Gregory Shaver Purdue University


Eric Nauman Purdue University

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Eric A. Nauman, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor with appointments in Mechanical Engineering, the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering and the Department of Basic Medical Sciences at Purdue University. Dr. Nauman's degrees are all in Mechanical Engineering and his research includes learning styles assessment, and the assessment of
active learning and case-based instruction in mechanics courses.

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

Measuring Student Perceptions of Case-based Instruction in an Engineering Course


One method that has been used as an alternative to the lecture based method of instruction and has produced positive results in the classroom is case-based instruction. Case-based instruction is an instructional technique that has been hypothesized to teach students to learn skills necessary for success as an engineer in the field.1 The current study focuses on comparing the case-based method of instruction and the lecture based method of instruction in a more uniform way that will allow future researchers to understand the impact of case-based instruction on student learning.


In today’s typical science undergraduate courses, professors use a lecture style of teaching that concentrates on memorization and recall of material. This approach emphasizes declarative knowledge rather than procedural knowledge.1 A lecture style format also frequently leads to reductions in student attention and engagement, which results in lower attendance (between 50 to 65 percent) and information retention (typically about 10%).2 This means that students are not motivated to come to class nor are they retaining information from classrooms that emphasize declarative learning, memorization and recall.2, 3. When there is an emphasis on memorization and not application or content understanding, retention of students within the math and science based majors becomes problematic.4

Recently, the engineering field has begun to incorporate learner-context teaching such as case- based instruction and other problem based learning methods in the classroom. Since World War II, many educational reforms have been made in the field of engineering based on the idea that understanding concepts in a meaningful context and understanding the science behind the techniques learned in laboratories was an essential part of student learning. More recently, various reports (e.g., Engineering Education for a Changing World; Engineering Education: Designing an Adaptive System; Restructuring Engineering Education: A focus on Change; Shaping the Future; Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology; Reinventing Undergraduate Education) have called for a curriculum that is student centered and teaches problem solving, leadership, ethics, communication, and cooperation in teams.8 One way to incorporate learner-centered methodologies is through the use of case studies to help students develop better conceptual understanding and critical thinking skills.

Case-based instruction is an instructional technique that has been hypothesized to increase students’ critical thinking skills by allowing faculty to provide opportunities for students to engage in active learning. Case-based instruction has the potential to help students better succeed in the “real world” of practice by embedding the engineering problems in authentic and realistic context. Case-based instruction has only recently been implemented in the engineering disciplines, but has a long and effective history in the business, law, and medical fields. 2, 6 The implementation of case learning allows for the integration of multiple sources to create an

Arnold, M., & Yadav, A., & Shaver, G., & Nauman, E. (2008, June), Measuring Student Perceptions Of Case Based Instruction In An Engineering Course Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3401

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