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Peer teaching research group model for upper level environmental engineering class with student-led lectures and journal article discussions

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2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

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Paper Authors


Thomas S. Soerens Messiah University

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Thomas Soerens is Professor of Engineering at Messiah University. He teaches in Civil and Environmental engineering with specialization in storm water, ground water, and water treatment. He performs design and applied research in water systems in rural developing communities. He is a Professional Engineer and a Certified Ecological Designer.

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An upper level environmental engineering class focusing on hazardous waste and air pollution was organized to mimic a graduate school research group. It is an upper-level required class for environmental engineering majors. In most weeks of the MWF class, a different student each week prepared a lecture and taught that week’s material on Monday. On Wednesday the faculty member followed this up with more explanation and clarification. Friday was a class discussion of a journal article related to the topic. The student would prepare the lecture a week or so in advance and faculty member and student would meet the previous week to go through what they had prepared. The student was directed to work at least one example problem from the text and to assign at least three text problems. The faculty member chose the journal article for each Friday and the students were responsible for reading it before class. The class format was well received and all students rose to the challenge and presented good lectures. A year later elements of this model were used in a water and wastewater class that had three students from the previous year’s hazardous waste class. Although there are not enough data to make strong conclusions based on these initial offerings, the next offering of the course will include feedback from students during and after the course so the faculty can monitor impact of the graduate research model in undergraduate courses.

Soerens, T. S. (2021, November), Peer teaching research group model for upper level environmental engineering class with student-led lectures and journal article discussions Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section.

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