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Refinement of a Concept Inventory to Assess Conceptual Understanding in Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Page Count

20

Page Numbers

26.1322.1 - 26.1322.20

DOI

10.18260/p.24659

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24659

Download Count

81

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Paper Authors

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Mary Katherine Watson The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-1718-5825

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Dr. Mary Katherine Watson is currently an Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel. Prior to joining the faculty at The Citadel, Dr. Watson earned her PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering from The Georgia Institute of Technology. She also has BS and MS degrees in Biosystems Engineering from Clemson University. Dr. Watson’s research interests are in the areas of engineering education and biological waste treatment.

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Amber Renee Mills The Citadel

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Amber Mills is a junior Civil Engineering major at The Citadel. Originally from North Carolina, she is the student chapter president of the Society of Women Engineers and participates as a varsity athlete. She plans to pursue a graduate degree in Civil Engineering.

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Kevin C. Bower The Citadel

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Dr. Kevin Bower is an Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Bower’s teaching research interests are in improving active learning environments and the development of classroom pedagogy to improve moral development in engineering students.

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Kenneth Brannan The Citadel

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Ken Brannan is a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at The Citadel. He has served as Chair of the First-Year Programs Division and the Environmental Engineering Division and as President of the Southeastern Section of ASEE. He earned B.C.E and M.S. degrees from Auburn University and the Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. His interests include wastewater treatment and teaching and learning in engineering education.

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Michael H. Woo The Citadel

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Associate Professor in Civil Engineering.

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Ronald W. Welch P.E. The Citadel

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Ron Welch (P.E.) received his B.S. degree in Engineering Mechanics from the United States Military Academy in 1982. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana in 1990 and 1999, respectively. He became the Dean of Engineering at The Citadel on 1 July 2011. Prior to his current position, he was the Department Head of Civil Engineering at The University of Texas at Tyler from Jan 2007 to June 2011 as well as served in the Corps of Engineers for over 24 years including eleven years on the faculty at the United States Military Academy.

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Abstract

Refinement of a Concept Inventory to Assess Deep Conceptual Understanding in Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics Courses Civil engineers are increasingly called upon to develop innovative solutions to society’sinfrastructure-related challenges, while satisfying competing design constraints, such as minimizing cost,reducing non-renewable resource consumption, and optimizing end-user satisfaction. To accomplishthis feat, engineers must possess a deep conceptual understanding of engineering fundamentals so thatthey are able to critically analyze new situations to develop creative designs. As a result, manyengineering educators are striving to apply and assess innovative pedagogies to encourage deeplearning among their students, rather than rote memorization of facts and solution procedures.Concept inventories, which are highly-sophisticated, multiple-choice assessments used to capturestudents’ conceptual knowledge in a specific engineering or science domain, can be used to identifycommon student misconceptions, as well as to characterize the efficacy of new teaching strategies.Concept inventories have been developed for a variety of engineering courses, although the fluidmechanics concept inventory (FMCI) is among those of specific interest to civil engineering (CE) faculty.However, the existing FMCI caters to mechanical engineering (ME) courses, since it includes conceptssuch as compressible flow. Thus, there is a need to refine the FMCI for application in CE courses. A study is currently being conducted to develop a FMCI for use in CE courses, based on theexisting ME-FMCI. A panel of five content experts is currently using a three-phase modified Delphimethod to systematically identify those questions in the existing concept inventory that are applicablein a civil engineering context. In Phase 1, each judge will review individual questions and rate them as“essential” or “not essential” for civil engineers. Panelists will also provide written justification for eachof their decisions and anonymously submit their answers to the lead judge. In Phase 2, the lead judgewill compile all Phase 1 data and distribute a summary to participants, who will review the group’sresponses and rate the applicability of each question for a CE-FMCI on a five-point Likert scale. In Phase3, panelists will review scores from Phase 2 and make a final designation for each problem. The finaloutcome of this structured communication process will be a reduced CE-FMCI. Student scores on the existing ME-FMCI will be used to validate the new CE-FMCI that willoriginate from the experts’ Delphi process. Match-paired t-tests will be used to discern differences instudents’ scores between the beginning and end of a CE fluid mechanics class disseminated at teachingcollege in the southeastern United States. It is hypothesized that there will be no significant change inscores for those questions omitted from the CE-FMCI, since targeted topics were deemed by the expertsto not be addressed in CE courses. However, a positive change in student scores are expected for thosequestions included in the CE-FMCI, since the experts agreed that pertinent topics were indeed coveredin CE courses. Overall, the outcome of this project will be a revised FMCI that is widely applicable in CEcourses. Availability of this assessment tool will aid engineering educators in devising courses thatpromote deep understanding of fluid mechanics, which will ultimately produce students that are able toeffectively apply basic principles in a variety of engineering practices. In addition, directions for futurework, such expansion of the CE-FMCI to include topics specific to the CE domain, such as open channelflow, will be presented.

Watson, M. K., & Mills, A. R., & Bower, K. C., & Brannan, K., & Woo, M. H., & Welch, R. W. (2015, June), Refinement of a Concept Inventory to Assess Conceptual Understanding in Civil Engineering Fluid Mechanics Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24659

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