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Professional Development Program on Active Learning for Engineering Faculty in Chile: First Stage

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Faculty Development

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Genaro Zavala Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Genaro Zavala is Full Professor of Physics and Director of Educational Innovation in the School of Engineering and Sciences at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Professor Zavala is National Researcher Level 1 of the National System of Researchers of Mexico and leads the Physics Education Research and Innovation Group. He works with the following research lines: conceptual understanding of students on subjects of physics, transfer of understanding between the different areas of knowledge, use of technology in learning, impact of using innovative learning environments and development of assessment tools. He has 76 articles in refereed journals and conferences, over 450 citations according to the ISI Web of Science, 6 books, 13 book chapters, 139 national and international presentations in countries like Korea, Denmark, Hungary, Cuba, United States, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina and 29 international workshops in Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Italy. Genaro Zavala was appointed to the editorial board of the Physical Review Special Topics-Physics Education Research journal of the American Physical Society for the period 2015-2018, vice president of the Latin American Physics Education Network (LAPEN) for the period 2013-2015 and is currently the coordinator of the Topical Group: Evaluation of Learning and Instruction of the International Group for Research and Teaching of Physics (GIREP by its French acronym). Dr. Zavala is a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) where he is currently a member of the Committee on Research in Physics Education (RIPE) and elected member of Leadership Organizing Physics Education Research Council (PERLOC).

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Maria Elena Truyol Universidad Andrés Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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María Elena Truyol, Ph.D., is full professor and researcher of the Universidad Andrés Bello (UNAB). She graduated as physics teacher (for middle and high school), physics (M.Sc.) and Ph.D. in Physics at Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. In 2013 she obtained a three-year postdoctoral position at the Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her focus is set on educational research, physics education, problem-solving, design of instructional material and teacher training. She teaches undergraduate courses related to environmental management, energy and fundamentals of industrial processes at the School of Engineering, UNAB. She currently is coordinating the Educational and Academic Innovation Unit at the School of Engineering (UNAB) that is engaged with the continuing teacher training in active learning methodologies at the three campuses of the School of Engineering (Santiago, Viña del Mar and Concepción, Chile). She authored several manuscripts in the science education area, joined several research projects, participated in international conferences with oral presentations and key note lectures and serves as referee for journals, funding institutions and associations.

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Angeles Dominguez Tecnologico de Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico, and Universidad Andres Bello, Santiago, Chile Orcid 16x16

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Angeles Dominguez is a Professor of the Department of Mathematics within the School of Engineering, a researcher at the School of Education, and the Director of the Master of Education Program at the Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico. Also, she is currently collaborating with the School of Engineering at the University Andres Bello at Santiago, Chile. Angeles holds a bachelor degree in Physics Engineering from Tecnologico de Monterrey and a doctoral degree in Mathematics Education from Syracuse University, NY. Dr. Dominguez is a member of the Researchers’ National System in Mexico (SNI-1) and has been a visiting researcher at Syracuse University, at UT-Austin and at Universidad Andres Bello. She teaches undergraduate courses in Mathematics, graduate courses in Education, and is a thesis advisor on the master and doctoral programs on education at the Tecnologico de Monterrey. Her main research areas are: models and modeling, use of technology to improve learning, gender issues in STEM.

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There is a widespread need of improvement in undergraduate science and engineering education and accordingly for effective professional development for teachers of engineering in Latin America. The need for a change from a teacher-centered to a student-centered education is becoming an urgent shift. In particular, Chile is investing in funded projects to improve the preparation of future engineers in the country. This work presents preliminary results of an ongoing program of teacher preparation of engineering faculty in a large private university in Chile. The first stage of the project uses Walter and Kautz (2015) framework to prepare a semester-long program that consists of five workshops (48 hours long) for 20 faculty members. Using a conceptual change approach, the focus of each workshop is the following. 1) Sensitizing faculty of the need of active learning to attend the new generations of students. During these two-day long workshop participants reflected about their own teaching and how they learn. 2) Introduction to collaborative and active learning strategies. A four-hour workshop in which the main ideas of collaborative learning were introduced and some active learning dynamics were presented. 3) Inquiry-based education. In this four-hour workshop the technique of using questions was presented, from an effective use of questions to the whole class to the use of inquiry-based strategies such as Peer Instruction. 4) Aligning teaching and assessment. In this four-hour workshop different types of assessment were introduced, from formative assessment to conceptual and evidence-based assessment. 5) Difficulties on implementing active learning. This six-hour workshop focused on the need to be aware and prepared for the difficulties that teachers face when introducing a change in their teaching strategy. There was a long discussion and reflection of how to address those difficulties. The format of each session was designed to emulate the active learning dynamics. After each workshop, participants designed and documented the implementation of activities and read some articles related to the workshop topics. The data collected consists of self-reflections, surveys, interviews, and documented implementations for each of the 20 faculty members. Some of the faculty members had previous experience in teacher preparation programs that addressed general education strategies. Some other had no experience at all on these strategies. Participants responded the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (Trigwell, Prosser and Ginns, 2005) at the beginning and at the end of the workshop sequence. This paper analyzes in what ways teachers changed their perspective regarding teaching engineering and their prior teacher preparation. The results showed that for the majority of the faculty members in the program, some who had previous experience and those who did not have experience, the implementing of active learning and collaborative learning was different from what they previously thought it was. Their perspective of the teaching practice changed not only by the activities they had in the workshops, but also, the activities they designed and implemented in their own classroom. References: Walter, C.M. & Kautz, C. H. (2015) “Conceptual change” as a guiding principle for the professional development of teaching staff. 122nd ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition. Educational Research & Methods Division. Seattle, WA. Trigwell, K., Prosser, M., & Ginns, P. (2005). Phenomenographic pedagogy and a revised Approaches to teaching inventory. Higher Education Research & Development, 24(4) 349-360.

Zavala, G., & Truyol, M. E., & Dominguez, A. (2017, June), Professional Development Program on Active Learning for Engineering Faculty in Chile: First Stage Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28761

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