June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.1232.1 - 22.1232.13
Reforming Environmental Engineering Laboratories for Sustainable Engineering: Incorporating Problem Based Learning and Case Studies into an Environmental Engineering Lab Course An introductory environmental engineering course was re-designed to include four newenvironmental laboratory modules based on Sustainability and Green Design. The goal of thecourse was to incorporate the skill sets taught in a traditional Environmental EngineeringLaboratory into the rapidly growing area of Environmental Sustainability and SustainableDesign. This restructuring of the lab course diverged from traditional step-by-step lab instructionby using an inquiry-based “open” experiment method to enhance student learning. These changeswere based on a well known meta-framework for instructional design, the How People Learn(HPL) model 1. Funded by the NSF Innovations in Engineering Education (IEECI) program, thisresearch led to the development of modules utilizing the pedagogy of problem-based learningand case studies to teach new environmental sustainable design concepts. One major goal for thisresearch is to address NSF IEECI exploratory focus to study educational approaches for howprinciples of sustainability can be infused into traditional courses and how educators can bestprovide hands-on approaches of engaging students. Student learning gains and perceptions forusing problem based teaching were gleaned from this research. Assessment of the researchconsisted of pre-surveys including the on-line Learning Styles Inventory developed by Felderand a baseline student achievement learning gains (SALG) on-line assessment. At thecompletion of the semester, students were assessed using a post-SALG survey, a post-surveyAssessment of Student Preferences for Teaching and Learning, and an ABET BasedQuestionnaire for Course Assessment. In keeping with the HPL model that includes four areasparamount to optimum learning, the student centered area of learning stresses the importance oflearning being driven by the knowledge, skills, attitudes and needs of the learner. When the finalfocus group interviews were performed at the conclusion of the semester students spoke on theirperceived level of engagement compared to other labs they have taken. Students were alsoqueried as to their opinion of the merit of two additional module topics for future development. The ultimate goal of this two year research project is to develop four modules forsustainability. Two modules were developed for the first year of the research with theanticipation of adding two more modules during year two. The spring 2010 modules consistedof: (1) Green Engineering Design and (2) Water reuse and recycling. The year two activities arebeing partially shaped by student input from the focus groups and will incorporate modules onSolid Waste Handling/Recycling and Biodegradation/Bioremediation. The details of the twocompleted modules will be discussed in detail in the paper in addition to the plans for the yeartwo modules. This paper will address the benefits, disadvantages, and the lessons learned fromthe first year of research for this work. 1. Bransford, J., Brown, A. and Cocking, R. (1999) How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Luster-Teasley, S., & Waters, C. (2011, June), Reforming Environmental Engineering Laboratories for Sustainable Engineering: Incorporating Problem Based Learning and Case Studies into an Environmental Engineering Lab Course Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18675
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