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Reflecting on the Reflections Driving Variations in Heat Transfer Teaching

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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

Thermodynamics, Fluids and Heat Transfer I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Sarah A. Roller University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Sarah A. Roller is an Assistant Professor in Mathematics Education at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She received her Ph.D. in curriculum, teaching, and educational policy from Michigan State University. Her research interests include teacher preparation and mentoring practices, research-based instructional strategies for teaching mathematics and STEM education, and teacher development.

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Francis Christopher Wessling University of Alabama, Huntsville

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Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 1985 - present
Former Chair of the Department (1999 - 2003, 2007)
Fellow, ASME
Associate Director, Consortium for Materials Development in Space 1985 - 1999
Professor, Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico, 1967 - 1979

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Reflecting on the Reflections Driving Variations in Heat Transfer Teaching Abstract Reflecting on teaching is a powerful habit of mind that can improve one’s own teaching practice. Dewey (1933) believed that reflective thinking, particularly around problematic situations, was essential for questioning routines and commonly accepted practices. Schön (1983) identified two types of reflection utilized by reflective practitioners to look back on past teaching experiences and to inform planning of future instruction. Specifically, reflection-in-action is thinking that occurs during teaching or in the moment, and reflection-on-action is thinking that occurs after teaching. The objective of this paper is to describe the reflective practice of an engineering professor, and how his reflections-in-action and reflections-on-action caused him to implement instructional variations within a senior level heat transfer course over three semesters. Looking back across the instructional changes, the authors reflect on the professor’s journey teaching the course and consider future planning ideas. Scales (2012) represents the process of improving teaching and learning with reflection in and on action as a flowchart. Specifically, teachers notice and reflect on moments during a lesson that stem from monitoring student learning or observing himself or herself; these are reflections-in-action. Following the lesson, the teacher is able to take extended time to ponder about how the lesson went, inquire about particular events, or just reflect on why things happened the way they did in class. These are reflections-on-action. This collection of thinking about teaching can then be used to intentionally plan future lessons, or in this paper, future iterations of the course. Upon the beginning of a new course, the cycle of reflecting in and on action begins again. The context for this paper is a senior level Introduction to Heat Transfer Course at our university. The professor for the course has taught three successive classes using variations of the flipped classroom methodology. With each cycle of reflection, reflections in and on teaching led to the collection of various pieces of data in an effort to inform decision-making, evaluate changes, and plan future classes. Survey data was collected to provide insights about students’ perceptions about the flipped-teaching method, as well as provide information about who the students were and their time commitments outside of class. Student interactions and monitoring during lessons provided informal data about how students were engaging with the course materials (i.e. Number of online video views, observations during collaborative group work). Students’ final course grades were also considered. Overall, this paper provides an authentic example of what cycles of reflection can look like in engineering education, and how reflections in and on action in conjunction with formal and informal data can lead toward variations of teaching.

Roller, S. A., & Wessling, F. C. (2017, June), Reflecting on the Reflections Driving Variations in Heat Transfer Teaching Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28787

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