June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Educational Research and Methods
15.1085.1 - 15.1085.14
Model-Eliciting Activities: A Construct For Better Understanding Student Knowledge and Skills
The ABET criteria for engineering programs include that students should have “an ability to apply mathematics, science and engineering”, “an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs”, “an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems”, and “an ability to communicate effectively”, and “a knowledge of contemporary issues”1. One manner of integrating teamwork and engineering contexts in undergraduate engineering is through the educational construct of Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs). MEAs are a class of interdisciplinary problems designed to simulate authentic, client-driven situations in classroom settings. MEAs allow teachers and researchers to observe student development of conceptual models by requiring students to make their models explicit through design-test-revise cycles. The solution of an MEA requires the use of one or more mathematical or engineering concepts that are unspecified by the problem - students must make new sense of their existing knowledge and understandings to formulate a generalizable mathematical model that can be used by the client to solve the given and similar problems. An MEA creates an environment in which skills beyond mathematical abilities are valued because the focus is not on the use of prescribed equations and algorithms but on the use of a broader spectrum of skills required for effective engineering problem solving. Carefully constructed MEAs can begin to prepare students to communicate and work effectively in teams; to adopt and adapt conceptual tools; to construct, describe, and explain complex systems; and to cope with complex systems. MEAs provide a learning environment that is tailored to a more diverse population than typical engineering course experiences as they allow students with different backgrounds and values to emerge as talented, and that adapting these types of activities to engineering courses has the potential to go beyond “filling the gaps” to “opening doors” to women and underrepresented populations in engineering. Further, MEAs provide evidence of student development in regards to ABET standards. MEAs are particularly useful for implementation in engineering training as they promote creative problem solving, application of interdisciplinary knowledge, and teamwork.
This paper will present four cases of research on student learning through MEAs developed and assessed through an NSF-funded grant, Collaborative Research: Improving Engineering Students’Learning Strategies Through Models and Modeling. We have added a secondary title, Modeling: Elicitation, Development, Integration, and Assessment (MEDIA) Project, to more easily describe the work that we are doing. The MEDIA Project is a large-scale, four-year collaborative research project between seven major universities: University of Pittsburgh, University of Minnesota, US Air Force Academy, Colorado School of Mines, Purdue University, Pepperdine University, and California Polytechnic State University, through which we are working to develop, assess, and evaluate MEAs in undergraduate engineering courses, especially focusing on second and third year courses.
Moore, T., & Self, B., & Hjalmarson, M., & Zawojewski, J., & Olds, B., & Miller, R., & Diefes-Dux, H., & Lesh, R. (2010, June), Special Session: Model Eliciting Activities: A Construct For Better Understanding Student Knowledge And Skills Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16662
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