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Practical Approaches To Project Based Learning Incorporating Peer Feedback In Order To Enhance Creativity In Engineering Courses

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Innovations in Teaching Physics or Engineering Phy

Tagged Division

Engineering Physics & Physics

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.988.1 - 13.988.11



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Paper Authors


Adrian Ieta Murray State University

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Adrian Ieta holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (2004) from The University of Western Ontario, Canada. He also holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Timisoara, Romania (1984), a B.E.Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnical University of Timisoara (1992), and an M.E.Sc. from The University of Western Ontario (1999). He worked on industrial projects within the Applied Electrostatics Research Centre and the Digital Electronics Research Group at the University of Western Ontario and is an IEEE member and a registered Professional Engineer of Ontario. He taught at the University of Western Ontario and is now Assistant Professor at Murray State University, Department of Engineering and Physics.

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Arthur Pallone

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Art Pallone holds a Ph.D in Applied Physics from the Colorado School of Mines (2000) in Golden, CO USA. He also holds an M.S. in Applied Physics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1995) and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Michigan (1991). From 2000 to 2003, he held a Davies Fellows Postdoctoral Teaching and Research appointment cosponsored by the United States Military Academy and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory. He is now an Assistant Professor at Murray State University in the Department of Engineering and Physics.

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

PRACTICAL APPROACHES TO PROJECT-BASED LEARNING INCORPORATING PEER FEEDBACK IN ORDER TO ENHANCE CREATIVITY IN ENGINEERING COURSES We report on innovative approaches to integrating student feedback into teaching engineering physics courses. Project-based learning, presentations, and peer-feedback contributed to an enhanced class experience. This interactive method was applied in Optics and Engineering Measurements courses. The Optics course was mainly focused on geometrical optics with a survey of wave optics. In order to compensate for the lack of laboratory work, an optics project was introduced alongside class demos. Students browsed for possible topics for a couple of weeks and then proposed one based on instructor’s feedback. The project concluded with a short presentation of the work in front of the class and a brief written report. In order to increase class interest in the project, the presentation took the form of a competition and the winner(s) were chosen by the class, who judged the presentations according to preset criteria. Student feedback was recorded and quantized, and the peer evaluation and feedback were returned to the presenters. The winners received small prizes in recognition of their performance. Interesting project ideas were formulated and some were implemented, although not always with the expected outcomes. Students enjoyed the peer feedback system, which exposed them to a different perspective on and evaluation of their work. For the Engineering Measurements course, students did small group projects on topics of common interest to group members. Group oral presentations and individual written reports replaced the traditional final exam. Subjects included topics such as magneto- optics, urban astronomy, acoustics, electro-mechanics, solar power, stress-strain measurements, laser beam divergence, and Brewster angle for different materials. Faculty attended presentations and participated with the students in the evaluation of the presentations using evaluation sheets provided in advance. Students preferred this type of examination to the stress of the final exam, despite devoting at least as much time and effort to their project and presentation as they would to traditional final exam preparation. Peer and faculty feedback during the term was particularly effective in enhanced collaboration, negotiations, and task prioritizing for successful project completions. In both teaching approaches, the project presentations involving peer feedback and student competition created an effervescent atmosphere and debates, and maintained student interest and participation. In a collaborative yet competitive environment, students learned to use laboratory equipment as well as their own resources. We report on the enhanced class experience, successes, and shortcomings of the project-based peer- evaluation method used in the classroom. The effectiveness shown in the Optics and Measurements classes indicates that this teaching approach is more generally applicable to other project-based courses.

INTRODUCTION Teaching engineering and science without laboratory sessions is both challenging and of diminished value. It has been reported that project based learning increases interest in the taught topic, as well as the students’ skills [1, 5, 8]. Epistemological beliefs and instructional goals can also be related to the use of laboratory activity [6]. Engineering Measurements and Optics are particularly suited to experimental investigation. Class

Ieta, A., & Pallone, A. (2008, June), Practical Approaches To Project Based Learning Incorporating Peer Feedback In Order To Enhance Creativity In Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3870

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