April 20, 2017
April 20, 2017
April 22, 2017
Pacific Southwest Section
Community colleges provide an important pathway for many prospective engineering graduates, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups. However, due to a lack of facilities, resources, student demand and/or local faculty expertise, the breadth and frequency of engineering course offerings is severely restricted at many community colleges. This in turn presents challenges for students trying to maximize their transfer eligibility and preparedness. Through a grant from the National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education program (NSF IUSE), three community colleges from Northern California collaborated to increase the availability and accessibility of a comprehensive lower-division engineering curriculum, even at small-to-medium sized community colleges. This was accomplished by developing resources and teaching strategies that could be employed in a variety of delivery formats (e.g., fully online, online/hybrid, flipped face-to-face, etc.), providing flexibility for local community colleges to leverage according to their individual needs. This paper focuses on the iterative development, testing, and refining of the resources for an introductory Materials Science course with 3-unit lecture and 1-unit laboratory components. This course is required as part of recently adopted statewide model associate degree curricula for transfer into Civil, Mechanical, Aerospace, and Manufacturing engineering bachelor’s degree programs at California State Universities. However, offering such a course is particularly challenging for many community colleges, because of a lack of adequate expertise and/or laboratory facilities and equipment. Consequently, course resources were developed to help mitigate these challenges by streamlining preparation for instructors new to teaching the course, as well as minimizing the face-to-face use of traditional materials testing equipment in the laboratory portion of the course. These same resources can be used to support online hybrid and other alternative (e.g., emporium) delivery approaches. After initial pilot implementation of the course during the Spring 2015 semester by the curriculum designer in a flipped student-centered format, these same resources were then implemented by an instructor who had never previously taught the course, at a different community college that did not have its own materials laboratory facilities. A single site visit was arranged with a nearby community college to afford students an opportunity to complete certain lab activities using traditional materials testing equipment. Lessons learned during this attempt were used to inform curriculum revisions, which were evaluated in a repeat offering the following year. In all implementations of the course, student surveys and interviews were used to determine students’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the course resources, student use of these resources, and overall satisfaction with the course. Additionally, student performance on objective assessments was compared with that of traditional lecture delivery of the course by the curriculum designer in prior years. During initial implementations of the course, results from these surveys and assessments revealed low levels of student satisfaction with certain aspects of the flipped approach and course resources, as well as reduced learning among students at the alternate institution. Subsequent modifications to the curriculum and delivery approach were successful in addressing most of these deficiencies.
Dunmire, E. N., & Rebold, T., & Schiorring, E., & Enriquez, A. G., & Langhoff, N. (2017, April), Strengthening Community College Engineering Programs through Alternative Learning Strategies: Developing Resources for Flexible Delivery of a Materials Science Course Paper presented at 2017 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, Tempe, Arizona. https://peer.asee.org/29234
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