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Nurture Motivated, Confident, And Strategic Learners In Engineering Through Cognitive And Psychological Instruction For An Entry Level Course

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Conference

2009 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovative Methods to Teach Engineering to URMs

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

14.917.1 - 14.917.17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/5222

Download Count

50

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Paper Authors

biography

Wei Zheng Jackson State University

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Dr. Wei Zheng is an Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering at Jackson State University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Civil Engineering from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001 and has over 10-year industrial experience. Since becoming a faculty member at JSU in 2005, he has made continuous efforts to integrate emerging technologies and cognitive skill development into engineering curriculum. He serves as a freshmen advisor for the First Year Experience Program at JSU and is the Principle Investigator for ongoing CCLI-Phase I Project funded by NSF. He has led the new course module development for CCLI-Phase I project and integrated its pilot implementation in his course at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at JSU.

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Gordon Skelton Jackson State University

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Dr. Gordon W. Skelton is an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at Jackson State University (JSU). He is the founder and director of Center for Defense Integrated Data at JSU. He is involved in research on wireless sensor networks and intelligent decision systems. His current research includes Disaster Response Intelligent System. He serves as the freshmen advisor and the instructor for the freshmen entry-level course University Success 100. He is Co-Principle Investigator for an ongoing CCLI-Phase I Project funded by NSF and has participated in new course module development for CCLI-Phase I project.

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HuiRu Shih Jackson State University

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Dr. HuiRu (H.R.) Shih is a Professor of Technology at Jackson State University (JSU). He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Missouri. Dr. Shih is a registered professional engineer and a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He serves as Co-Principle Investigator for an ongoing CCLI-Phase I Project funded by NSF and has participated in new course module development for the CCLI-Phase I project and integrated its pilot implementation in his course at the Department of Technology at JSU.

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Evelyn Leggette Jackson State University

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Dr. Evelyn Leggette is a Professor and Dean of Division of Undergraduate Studies at Jackson State University. She is the administrator for the First Year Experience Program at JSU and has expertise on advisement, assessment of curriculum enhancement project. She serves as Co-Principle Investigator for an ongoing CCLI-Phase I Project funded by NSF and is in charge of the assessment of students’ learning outcomes from implementation of the CCLI project at JSU.

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Tzusheng Pei Jackson State University

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Dr. Tzusheng Pei is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Jackson State University (JSU). His research includes artificial neural networks application for transportation analysis and biological dendritic neural nets for recognizing patterns in a learning process. He is Co-Principle Investigator for an ongoing CCLI-Phase I Project funded by NSF and has participated in new course module development for the CCLI-Phase I project.

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

Nurture Motivated, Confident, and Strategic Learners in Engineering through Cognitive and Psychological Instructions for an Entry-Level Course

Abstract

There is a disconnection between teaching specific domain contents and developing effective cognitive skills for students in current engineering education. This disconnection makes it difficult for students to apply effective cognitive strategies for their learning in specific engineering domain. Students who failed in their engineering studies may attribute their failures to lack of ability in learning engineering rather than a lack of effective use of cognitive strategies. They may decide to quit from engineering programs due to frustrations from their setbacks in learning. As students from minority groups are interested in learning engineering, the challenge is to nurture their interest, maintain their efforts, and strengthen their confidence that they can succeed. Thus, there is an imperative need for engineering faculty to adapt new instructional strategies that can help students to effectively regulate their learning motivation, strategies, and efforts, particularly at their early learning stages.

Self-Regulated Learning (SRL) has been research subject and educational practice in the context of Educational Psychology. SRL involves self-monitoring and self-correction of three components of learning: motivation, behavior, and cognition. It refers to active learning guided by three important aspects of learning: (1) motivation to learn; (2) metacognition (awareness of one’s knowledge and beliefs); and (3) strategic action (planning, evaluating, and acting). One important aspect in SRL is to regulate the learners’ motivation. Psychological instruction model of Expandable Intelligence (EI) is established based on new psychological findings that learners’ belief on their intelligence has a profound influence on their motivation to learn. With the belief that intelligence can be expanded (as opposed to the view of fixed intelligence), learners are able to attribute their successes or failures to factors within their control (e.g. effective use of strategies, or effort on a task) rather than lack of ability. They can be motivated to use learning strategies and persist in their learning efforts for expanding their intelligence.

This paper presents relevant development and findings from cognitive science and education practice on motivation and self-regulated learning, and proposes a new instructional strategy and its implementation plan for a freshmen entry-level course. It includes Direct Instruction that presents the EI and SRL model, as well as related strategies, to students as stand-along learning contents; and Immersion Instruction that merges the instruction based on EI and SRL as salient cues and scaffold into Problem/Project-Based Learning (PBL) process through a co-curricular design project. The course project requires freshmen to identify a problem and provide innovative technological solutions that could impact and improve students’ studies and lives around campus. Students will be given sufficient time and autonomy to identify problems, learn required knowledge through SRL, and formulate innovative solutions in a way that not only engages them but also is relevant to their particular learning level and interest. The outcomes from pilot implementation indicated that the proposed instruction strategies could improve students’ perception on self-regulated learning and innovative-problem solving through Problem/Project-Based Learning pedagogy, and promote students to seek and practice the learning strategies. The proposed instruction strategies could be transferable for other courses to facilitate students to become motivated, confident, and strategic learners in engineering.

Zheng, W., & Skelton, G., & Shih, H., & Leggette, E., & Pei, T. (2009, June), Nurture Motivated, Confident, And Strategic Learners In Engineering Through Cognitive And Psychological Instruction For An Entry Level Course Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5222

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