Asee peer logo

Problem-Based Learning: A Student Perspective on the Role of the Facilitator

Download Paper |

Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD 3: Research on First-year Programs and Students, Part I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

22.1180.1 - 22.1180.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18696

Download Count

27

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Holly M. Matusovich Virginia Tech

visit author page

Holly Matusovich is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Matusovich has a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. She also has a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and an M.S. in Materials Science with a concentration in Metallurgy. Additionally Dr. Matusovich has four years of experience as a consulting engineer and seven years of industrial experience in a variety of technical roles related to metallurgy and quality systems for an aerospace supplier. Dr. Matusovich’s research interests include the role of motivation in learning engineering as well as retention and diversity concerns within engineering education and engineering as a profession.

visit author page

biography

Brett D. Jones Virginia Tech

visit author page

Brett D. Jones, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Educational Psychology program within the School of Education at Virginia Tech. He received his Bachelor’s of Architectural Engineering degree, with an emphasis in structural engineering, from The Pennsylvania State University in 1992. Subsequently, he worked as a consulting engineer at an architectural engineering firm. He obtained his M.A. (1997) and Ph.D. (1999) in Educational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has held faculty positions as an educational psychologist at Duke University, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, and Virginia Tech. He received the North Carolina Association for Research in Education’s Distinguished Paper Award (2000) and the university-wide Undergraduate Teaching Award at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (2003 - 2004). His current research focuses on applying motivation and cognitive theories to instruction (http://www.MotivatingStudents.info/).

visit author page

biography

Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6928

visit author page

Marie C. Paretti is an associate professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she co-directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center. Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, and design education. She was awarded a CAREER grant from NSF to study expert teaching practices in capstone design courses nationwide, and is co-PI on several NSF grants to explore gender in engineering, design education, and interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering design.

visit author page

biography

Jacob Preston Moore Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7513-5979

visit author page

Jacob Moore is a Ph.D. candidate in the Engineering Education Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech. His research interests include developing better digital textbooks for engineering and using Rapid Prototyping in education.

visit author page

biography

Deirdre-Annaliese Nicole Hunter Virginia Tech

visit author page

Deirdre Hunter is a doctoral student in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech.She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University. Her research interests include retention and motivation of engineering students.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Motivating Factors in Problem-Based Learning: A Student Perspective on the Role of the FacilitatorResearchers are increasingly seeking to understand undergraduates’ experiences in engineeringto better prepare future graduates and to support retention and career persistence. Although anumber of pedagogical approaches have been suggested to meet these objectives, few studieshave examined specific pedagogical approaches through the lens of relevant motivationaltheories to explore effects on students’ experiences in and beliefs about engineering. Problem-based learning (PBL) is a pedagogical approach that has been identified as promoting learningoutcomes consistent with ABET criteria, though the motivational impacts of this approach areless understood. Because problem-based approaches are expanding from use in traditionalcapstone design courses to cornerstone design courses and design across the curriculum courses,it is particularly important to understand the impact such approaches have on students’ beliefsabout engineering and their intended career plans.To help address this gap, we are conducting a three-year study using motivation theory to betterunderstand how two critical elements of the PBL model, team facilitation and project definition,better support retention and persistence for first-year students. In this paper, we focus on findingsassociated with facilitation from the first phase of the study. The overall study employs a mixedmethods design (observations, interviews, and surveys) to compare students across two settings.At State U1, students select a specific engineering department (biomedical) before entering theuniversity and participate in a well-established PBL-based course. At State U2, students enter ageneral engineering program that uses a project-based approach to integrate design projects intothe first-year curriculum. In this paper, we report the outcomes from interviews with PBL teammembers from U1 and design team members from U2 to address the research question: How dofirst-year engineering students in two different types of design approaches (PBL and traditionaldesign) perceive the role of facilitators and how does this perception influence studentmotivation?We conducted semi-structured interviews (30-60 minutes) with ten men and nine women fromU1 and four men and six women from U2 at the end of their first year. Audio recordings weretranscribed and then analyzed using MAXQDA coding software. We first coded interviewsindividually before looking across all interviews for themes and patterns. We developed codesinductively through the data and based on literature suggestions.Our findings show clear differences as well as similarities across the two programs. As anexample finding, participants at both sites saw the facilitator as the grading authority. Despitethe PBL approach having a stronger focus on the learning process and mastery of skills, studentsacross both settings were extremely concerned with grades as a measure of performance andability in engineering and they held facilitators accountable. Students became frustrated whenthey perceived facilitators as using invisible, inflexible, or inappropriate grading practices. Ourpaper will include additional findings and recommendations for practitioners.

Matusovich, H. M., & Jones, B. D., & Paretti, M. C., & Moore, J. P., & Hunter, D. N. (2011, June), Problem-Based Learning: A Student Perspective on the Role of the Facilitator Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18696

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015