June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
15.1007.1 - 15.1007.10
Quality Enhancement in Statics Abstract
To satisfy accreditation requirements the University of Louisville recently developed a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) to improve undergraduate instruction across all disciplines. Central elements of the plan are: emphasis on critical thinking; integration of critical thinking throughout the curriculum; service learning for undergraduates; and a culminating experience. With the adoption of the QEP, instructors were asked to incorporate these concepts into their curriculum. One of the most interesting efforts in revamping course presentation has been to change the way a truly fundamental course, Statics, is taught.
In order to modify the existing Statics course to meet the QEP objectives, minor changes were necessary in areas of course design (course objective, culminating experience, flowchart of progress) and assessment procedures (pre-quiz, group problems, and optional final). The changes were not extensive, but rather only minor changes to presentation or organizational format. Statics is one of the core courses within the engineering curriculum and a significant amount of information must be conveyed and mastered. Thus, the changes presented do not disrupt the normal classroom flow, but rather shift the emphasis and language to incorporate critical thinking explicitly.
During the summer semester 2009, 115 students were enrolled in a single Statics session where the course modifications were enacted. Grade statistics from this class were then compared to data from previous classes taught between 2004 and 2008. Based on the recorded student performance data and comments received during the course evaluations, the minor modifications made in the class presentation had a positive effect on student attitude as well as performance.
One of the requirements for accreditation according to the procedures of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for improvement in undergraduate instruction. SACS is the recognized regional accrediting body in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. “An effective QEP should be carefully designed and present a focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) related to enhancing student learning.”
In January 2005, a QEP Team of faculty, staff and students were charged with developing such a plan for the University of Louisville. A university-wide survey was conducted to identify areas of instruction that needed improvement, and solicit suggestions on ways to remediate deficiencies. The range in response was quite wide, as expected, but generally fell into four broad categories 1) gaining the ability to solve problems and to apply theories in practice, through critical thinking; 2) integration of learning (no more outlier courses unrelated to any other course or practice area); 3) providing opportunities to apply classroom learning in practical
Rockaway, T., & Hagerty, D. J. (2010, June), Quality Enhancement In Statics Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15943
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