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Revealing Student Misconceptions and Instructor Blind Spots with Muddiest Point Formative Feedback

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Materials Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Materials

Page Count

21

DOI

10.18260/p.26104

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26104

Download Count

199

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Paper Authors

biography

Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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Dr. Cindy Waters is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering and she specializes in porous metals for biological and transportation applications, and engineering education. Dr. Waters’ research expertise is in the creation and characterization of metallic foams and porous metals for the future of applications ranging from space exploration to biomedical implants. These metals display a high density to strength ratio and improved ability for energy absorption, which leads to usefulness in many applications. Dr. Waters is also known for her engineering education efforts. She has past and current NSF funding with several facets of engineering education and these include: Assessment studies of classroom material science pedagogical implementations; Just in Time Teaching with Web-based Tools of Material Science; Case Studies in Material Science and Various Engineering Disciplines and; Engineering Faculty Barriers to Adopt Evidence-Based (or nontraditional) Teaching Methods. She has been invited to speak at conferences (MRS, MS&T, and ASEE) worldwide on the topic of Material Science education. She serves as the College of Engineering liaison to ASEE and advises the Society of Women Engineers student chapter and leads the students in developing and implementing yearly outreach events for the K-8 female community. She is author of many peer-reviewed conference proceeding and journal papers in the areas of both porous metals and engineering education.

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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 NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Janet Callahan Boise State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6665-1584

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Janet Callahan is Professor and Chair of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University. Dr. Callahan received her Ph.D. in Materials Science, M.S. in Metallurgy, and B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut. Her educational research interests include materials science & engineering, freshman engineering programs, math education, and retention and recruitment of STEM majors.

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Barry Dupen Indiana University - Purdue University, Fort Wayne

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Dr. Dupen is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW). He has nine years’ experience as a metallurgist, materials engineer, and materials laboratory manager in the automotive industry. His primary interests lie in materials engineering, mechanics, and engineering technology education. He is also an experienced contra dance caller.

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Mary B. Vollaro Western New England University

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Mary B. Vollaro is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts. Dr. Vollaro received her Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut, her M.S. at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and her B.S.M.E. at Western New England University. She has held engineering positions in industry (in particular, the materials science area) and was Chair of the ASEE Materials Division. She has written in the area of materials science education and is now working on leadership and teaming activities for engineers.

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Peggie Weeks

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Peggie Weeks has twice been a Program Officer at the National Science Foundation and currently serves as External Evaluator on six National Science Foundation projects and centers. She was on the faculty at Corning Community College for 16 years. Prior to teaching, she was employed as a Process Engineer with Corning, Inc. She has a master's degree in ceramic engineering from Alfred University and a bachelor's degree in metallurgy and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University.

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Abstract

Of interest to all engineering disciplines, well-designed formative feedback has the potential to enhance both instructor teaching and student learning. Delivering fundamental courses year after year, can ultimately lead faculty to use stale notes or slides from past years. This approach may save time, but does not meet the shifting needs of our students who have high expectations from their instructors. One simple method to improve teaching is to employ muddiest point reflections. Muddiest point reflections involve simply asking students to anonymously reflect on what was “muddy”, i.e. confusing, during class and to rank their level of confusion which not only addresses students falling behind, but also shows students a commitment to their education especially when the instructor puts direct student quotes on the screen. Initially, developing a formative feedback process takes some effort, but once established, using a formative feedback process requires little effort. The formative feedback process includes four steps: 1) acquiring data from student reflections; 2) assessing and characterizing student responses in order to diagnose the learning issues that can impede students from achieving their learning goals; 3) designing and synthesizing the type and mode of formative feedback that best addresses the learning issues; and 4) selecting a formative feedback delivery method that quickly communicates to students the information and/or resources that they can use to enhance progress toward their learning goals.

This paper presents and discusses the nuts and bolts of implementing the feedback process when using end-of-class “Muddiest Point” (MP) student reflections. These are collected following a class topic and are collected for the purpose of identifying – and quickly correcting – points of confusion that students individually report (their muddiest point). In addition, we report on several instructor perceptions of their teaching that result from using “muddiest points” for the first time. These instructors deployed MP in a systematic way in fall, 2015 in several different materials science courses across the country. Finally, we share strategic examples from each instructor, of how using muddiest points in fall, 2015, caught a misconception or point of confusion in their teaching that probably would not have been otherwise known.

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Waters, C., & Krause, S. J., & Callahan, J., & Dupen, B., & Vollaro, M. B., & Weeks, P. (2016, June), Revealing Student Misconceptions and Instructor Blind Spots with Muddiest Point Formative Feedback Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26104

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