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Repairing Student Misconceptions Using Ontology Training: A Study With Junior And Senior Undergraduate Engineering Students

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Attitudes and Perceptions

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

15.1029.1 - 15.1029.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/16748

Download Count

52

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Paper Authors

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Dazhi Yang Purdue University

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Dazhi Yang is a postdoctoral researcher and an instructional designer in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. She obtained both her master’s and Ph.D. degrees in Educational Technology from Purdue in 2004 and 2008, respectively. She has taught a variety of subjects at the K-12, undergraduate, and graduate levels. She also has worked on various instructional deign and technology-supported learning projects across disciplines. Dr. Yang’s research interests are instructional design and strategies for helping students learn difficult science and engineering concepts, technology-supported learning, online and distance learning, assessment and evaluation.

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Aidsa Santiago Roman University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez

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Aidsa I. Santiago Román is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Materials and the Director of the Strategic Engineering Education Development (SEED) Office at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus (UPRM). Dr. Santiago earned a BA and MS in Industrial Engineering from UPRM, and Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Her primary research interest is investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science.

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Ruth Streveler Purdue Universtiy

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Ruth A. Streveler is an Assistant Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Before coming to Purdue she spent 12 years at Colorado School of Mines, where she was the founding Director of the Center for Engineering Education. Dr. Streveler earned a BA in Biology from Indiana University-Bloomington, MS in Zoology from the Ohio State University, and Ph.D in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at M?noa. Her primary research interest is investigating students’ understanding of difficult concepts in engineering science.

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Ronald Miller Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Ronald L. Miller is professor of chemical engineering and Director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted engineering education research for the past 24 years. Dr. Miller has received three university-wide teaching awards and has held a Jenni teaching fellowship at CSM. He has received grant awards for education research from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education FIPSE program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and has published widely in the engineering education literature.

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James Slotta University of Toronto

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Jim Slotta is an associate level professor of education in the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at The University of Toronto. He holds the Canada Research Chair in education and technology and co-directs
the NSF-funded center called Technology-Enhanced Learning in Science(TELS). His research employs technology-enhanced learning environments to
investigate cognitive models of learning and instruction. He also promotes the development of open source materials for the learning sciences, and led the development of the Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning
(SAIL). Slotta and his team are currently developing an open source technology framework for smart classroom research called SAIL Smart Space, which supports investigations of a new pedagogical model for knowledge communities and inquiry.

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Michelene Chi

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has focused on ways of optimizing students’ learning, especially in domains of sciences. Her early research investigated children’s competence as a function of knowledge and differences between novices and experts. More recently, she has focused on the origin of misconceptions, and explored approaches to teaching emergent, robustly misconceived processes. She has also published many articles on how students learn from generating self-explanations, from being tutored, from collaborating, and from observing and overhearing tutorial dialogues. Recently she introduced a framework that can differentiate students’ learning activities as active, constructive or interactive. Two of her papers have been ranked #1 and #7 most highly cited articles published by the journal Cognitive Science. Micki Chi is currently a Professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education, Payne Hall/Box 0611, at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0611. Email: Michelene.Chi@asu.edu.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Repairing Student Misconceptions Using Ontology Training: A Study with Junior and Senior Undergraduate Engineering Students

Abstract

Previous studies reported that misconceptions related to heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics, persist among engineering juniors and seniors even after they have completed college-level courses in the subjects. This study focuses on developing methods to repair some particularly robust misconceptions in diffusion, heat transfer, and microfluidics. Three online training modules were created in Blackboard that provided instruction about two distinct scientific processes (sequential and emergent processes), heat transfer, diffusion and microfluidics. An experimental study with 60 juniors and seniors undergraduate engineering students was conducted at a large Midwestern US university. Experimental and control cohorts completed the on-line multimedia modules including macroscopic and microscopic simulations of heat transfer and diffusion processes. Quantitative data were collected through multiple- choice questions assessing conceptual knowledge of diffusion, heat transfer, and microfluidics. In addition, qualitative data were collected through participants’ verbal explanations of their multiple choice answers. Both quantitative and qualitative results indicate that there was statistically significant improvement in the experimental cohort compared to the control cohort in conceptual understanding of diffusion and microfluidics processes but there was no significant improvement in heat transfer. This result might be attributed to a “pedagogical learning impediment” associated with participants having taken prior heat transfer courses or which assessment questions which did not adequately probe for conceptual understanding of heat transfer.

Introduction

Previous studies reported that misconceptions related to heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics, persist among engineering juniors and seniors even after they have completed college-level courses in the subjects. 1 Slotta and Chi 2, 3 have demonstrated that, with middle school and non-science college students, misconceptions can be repaired after training students in appropriate mental frameworks or schemas for some difficult concepts. This innovative instructional approach- ontological schema training method - focuses on facilitating students’ conceptual change by helping students develop appropriate schemas or conceptual frameworks for learning difficult science concepts.

The ontological schema training approach consists of two distinct categories of concepts, sequential processes and emergent processes. The sequential process results when interaction agents in a causal and dependent pattern causes some “outcome in a sequential and dependent” way. 2 Main properties of sequential processes in terms of the pattern of the outcome are: causal and intentional agents, sequential and dependent, differentiated behavior or actions. For example, the pattern of the process of building a skyscraper is the changing shape and size of the building. The agents of this process are the workers who contribute to the building and the materials they use in their construction tasks. Each worker behaves in their own way, depending on his or her

Yang, D., & Santiago Roman, A., & Streveler, R., & Miller, R., & Slotta, J., & Chi, M. (2010, June), Repairing Student Misconceptions Using Ontology Training: A Study With Junior And Senior Undergraduate Engineering Students Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/16748

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