June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1322.1 - 26.1322.20
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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