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Peer-Led Team Learning in Introductory Engineering Courses: An Analysis of an Interventional Method of Support for Underrepresented Students at a Two-year, Hispanic-serving Public Institution

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Kimberly A. Luthi Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Worldwide Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kimberly Luthi is an assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautic University-Worldwide in the College of Aeronautics, Department of Graduate Studies. Her research background is in workforce development education and STEMP (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Professional Studies) education. Dr. Luthi’s work is focused on helping women advance in STEM fields and being a part of institutional change to support women in overcoming barriers. Dr. Luthi is recognized for her efforts in securing federal grants through the National Science Foundation and Department of Labor that provide educators the tools they need to encourage women to enter and succeed in careers to include engineering and engineering technology where they are traditionally under-represented.

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Lisa Macon Valencia College

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Dr. Lisa Macon holds a BS in Computer Science from Hofstra University, an MS in Computer Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a PhD in Mathematics from University of Central Florida. She has worked as a software developer and project manager in the newswire, petroleum, and entertainment industries. Dr. Macon is currently the chair of the bachelor of applied science program in Computing Technology and Software Development at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida.

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Mohua Kar Valencia College

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Professor/Program Chair, AA-Engineering
Division of Engineering, Computer Programming, & Technology
Valencia College, Orlando, Florida

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The poster session will examine one aspect of the interventional study analysis provided through a three-year project entitled, Engagement in Engineering Pathways funded by the National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM education grant program. The aim is to explore the conditions that lead to increased academic outcomes and non-cognitive factors related to persistence in engineering education. The study population is undergraduate engineering students at a multi-campus, federally designated Hispanic-serving, public, two-year college in the southeast United States. As part of a larger, multi-institution ongoing thematic research study, this study presents the findings and analysis of the effects of peer-led team learning (PLTL) through the inclusion of active learning modules in introductory undergraduate engineering courses. Through the use of recitation leaders, the researchers found that PLTL in engineering courses, to include statics and dynamics, closed a gap between majority and minority students, populations historically underrepresented in engineering. Although the study is limited to a single institution, the results support that the inclusion of active learning modules introduced through peer-led exercises, may address an important construct known to be a factor in academic success and persistence in engineering.

The poster session will highlight the best practices in implementing peer-led team learning strategies as part of engineering recitation courses to achieve student persistence and retention. The study specifically addressed conditions in which the intervention supports Hispanic women in engineering and led to increased pass rates in engineering courses. The courses are taught in large class sections, two sections per semester, with an instructor and one recitation leader. The poster session will display the demographics of the participants per course in the three-year pilot study. The courses follow a face-to-face instructional model with class primarily reserved for lecture and the one-hour a week recitation lab reserved for peer-led practice of applied mathematics within real-world engineering concepts. Over the three-year period, the project has moved toward the goal of increasing student success and provided support structures so that underrepresented students, particularly minority female students, can progress in engineering and engineering technology disciplines.

Findings from this study are expected to advance the development of an equitable national engineering workforce that promotes the full participation of all women, specifically Hispanic women, at all levels within academia and the workforce. The findings provide insight into best practices including faculty guidance on implementing peer-led team learning exercises within engineering courses that have potential to increase underrepresented students’ commitment to the engineering pathways.

Luthi, K. A., & Macon, L., & Kar, M. (2021, July), Peer-Led Team Learning in Introductory Engineering Courses: An Analysis of an Interventional Method of Support for Underrepresented Students at a Two-year, Hispanic-serving Public Institution Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37572

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