June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Nuclear and Radiological
24.921.1 - 24.921.9
Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Collaborative Peer Learning in an Introductory Nuclear Engineering CourseEmployers listed teamwork, critical thinking, analytical reasoning, and communication as themost highly sought after employee skills (Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc., 2006). Forengineering institutions these skills are certified through ABET accreditation and are testedthrough Student Outcomes including, ‘an ability to function on multi-disciplinary teams’ and ‘anability to communicate effectively’. Dr. Robert Beichner’s work in the ‘SCALE-UP’ program atNorth Caroline State University has highlighted the effectiveness of using small groups insteadof large lecture halls to encourage active collaborative learning in the classroom; many othershave also touted the importance of collaborative learning. In light of these best practices, multi-disciplinary teams at West Point were formed at random in an introductory nuclear engineeringcourse in order to promote student and team development and to incorporate collaborativelearning. Students majoring in engineering and science disciplines were combined with studentsfrom non-technical majors in order to meet institutional core engineering requirements. Studentswithin each group benefit from peer learning in collaborative settings where students shareunderstanding by teaching their peers and by being taught by their peers, and these habitualrelations last for the entire semester. Peer learning in a collaborative environment forgesteamwork within multi-disciplinary teams, and the products delivered demonstrate effectivecommunication of course concepts. The group members have shared responsibilities forpresenting solutions to design problems assigned to the group and for preparing small blocks ofinstruction presented during course lecture periods. Students were required to report their owninvolvement in group work and to rate their fellow group members’ level of participation andcontribution. Additionally, students rated the effectiveness of their collaborative learningsessions. Future work should include more collaborative exercises within the classroom as wellas a control group for performance comparison.
Heider, S. A., & Sones, B. A., & Moretti, B. E. (2014, June), Multi-Disciplinary Teams and Collaborative Peer Learning in an Introductory Nuclear Engineering Course Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/22854
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