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Relationships Between Engineering Faculty Beliefs and Classroom Practices

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Studies in Faculty Development

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28793

Download Count

87

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Paper Authors

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Lydia Ross Arizona State University

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Lydia Ross is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Arizona State University. She is a second year student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program. Her research interests focus on higher education access, equity, and inclusion.

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Eugene Judson Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-0124-8476

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Eugene Judson is an Associate Professor of for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He also serves as an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). His past experiences include having been a middle school science teacher, Director of Academic and Instructional Support for the Arizona Department of Education, a research scientist for the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET), and an evaluator for several NSF projects. His first research strand concentrates on the relationship between educational policy and STEM education. His second research strand focuses on studying STEM classroom interactions and subsequent effects on student understanding. He is a co-developer of the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) and his work has been cited more than 1800 times and his publications have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Stephen J. Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on an NSF faculty development program based on evidence-based teaching practices. The overall goal is to develop disciplinary communities of practice across the college of engineering. The approach is being promoted through semester-long faculty workshops and then through a semester of supported implementation of faculty classroom innovations. Changes in faculty beliefs and classroom practice should positively impact student performance and retention. He was a coauthor for the best paper award at the FIE convention in 2009 and the best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Casey Jane Ankeny Arizona State University

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Casey J. Ankeny, Ph.D. is lecturer in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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Robert J. Culbertson Arizona State University, Department of Physics

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Robert J. Culbertson is an Associate Professor of Physics. Currently, he teaches introductory mechanics and electrodynamics for physics majors and a course in musical acoustics, which was specifically designed for elementary education majors. He is director of the ASU Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project, which strives to produce more and better high school physics teachers. He is also director of Master of Natural Science degree program, a graduate program designed for in-service science teachers. He works on improving persistence of students in STEM majors, especially under-prepared students and students from under-represented groups.

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Keith D. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Keith D. Hjelmstad is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University.

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Abstract

This study examines the impact of an NSF-funded professional development program on instructors’ attitudes towards, and use of, student-centered learning practices in engineering undergraduate courses. The project launched during spring 2016 and involves promoting communities of practice within engineering disciplines and delivering a series of train-the-trainer workshops to the engineering faculty. The workshops strongly promote tenets of student-centered learning and active engagement practices in the classroom.

As part of the overall program evaluation, pre- and post-assessments have been administered throughout the workshop series. Since self-reported practices can be biased, classroom observations (both pre- and post-observations) were also conducted to determine actual classroom practices of the instructors. For the purpose of this study we focus on the comparison of beliefs about student-centered instruction and observed practices. Specifically, this is a point-in-time analysis of the relationship between beliefs and use of active learning practices in the classroom.

Beliefs were assessed with the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI). The ATI is a survey that measures the extent of faculty teaching beliefs toward teacher-centered (TC) knowledge transmission vs. student-centered (SC) conceptual change. While the ATI measured beliefs, the degree to which classroom practices were student-centered was assessed via classroom visits by trained observers using the Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP). The RTOP is a classroom observation protocol that was designed specifically for STEM classrooms and it allows observers to quantify the degree of student-centered teaching and learning occurring during a lesson.

Results indicated a moderate, positive correlation (r= 0.458, p < 0.05) existed between average ATI SC scores and overall RTOP scores. This implies that beliefs did indeed manifest in the engineering classrooms, although the relationship was not considered particularly strong. Correspondingly, no significant relationship existed between mean ATI teacher-centered scores and overall RTOP scores. Further analysis of the relationships between attitudes towards student-centered and teacher-centered teaching practices (as measured by ATI) with the five dimensions of RTOP (e.g., communicative interactions, student/teacher relationships) are explored in the full paper.

Ross, L., & Judson, E., & Krause, S. J., & Ankeny, C. J., & Culbertson, R. J., & Hjelmstad, K. D. (2017, June), Relationships Between Engineering Faculty Beliefs and Classroom Practices Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28793

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