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Practical approach towards teaching a content intensive subject in higher education

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Perceptions, Projects, and Practical Approaches

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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James Lambrechts P.E. Wentworth Institute of Technology

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James Lambrechts received a B.S. from the University of Maryland and an M.S. from Purdue University, both in civil engineering. He was a geotechnical engineer for 27 years with Haley & Aldrich, Inc. in Boston before taking a position at Wentworth in 2005.

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Anuja Kamat Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Anuja Kamat is an Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston. Prof. Kamat received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Arizona, Tucson and MS in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign . She also has a BE in Construction Engineering from University of Mumbai and Diploma in Civil Engineering from Government Polytechnic, Mumbai. Prof. Kamat’s research is in the areas of reinforced and prestressed concrete, concrete blocks and engineering education.

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Ron Frattura

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While teaching a largely content packed, theoretical course in an engineering school, it is often a challenge to ensure student learning and retention of the course material. The students tend to be overwhelmed with the large quantity of technical content that they would need to read and remember, and be able to recall. To facilitate student learning in such courses, a variety of strategies need to be used. Methodologies used for teaching one such course, Civil Engineering Materials, are presented in this paper. To encourage student notetaking, a study guide sheet to follow along with the PowerPoint is provided. This sheet was made such that it had enough missing information to encourage student filling in the notes. At the same time the size of the sheet was kept to one page for every week to make sure that it is not overwhelming to the students. The slides were made available after the class. A detailed learning management system was built with free resources which included videos. Homework was built to serve as a study aid and graded mostly for completion. The homework would need the student to follow the slides and study sheet. At the same time, some questions would need the text book. The questions which needed the textbook were chosen to increase the curiosity of the students, to encourage them to read the entire chapter. A quiz every week, based on the study guide sheet and homework was intended to encourage timely study patterns. These low stakes quiz did need some study time to sharpen recall, but doing the homework helped to reinforce specific topics. A comprehensive final exam and a research paper concluded the course. At the end of the course, the students were given a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of these methodologies. Samples of study guides, discussion of what worked, what did not work and why, are discussed in this paper, along with suggestions for further improvement.

Lambrechts, J., & Kamat, A., & Frattura, R. (2020, June), Practical approach towards teaching a content intensive subject in higher education Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35065

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