June 22, 2003
June 22, 2003
June 25, 2003
8.1036.1 - 8.1036.12
Student Journals Promote Communication for Adjunct Instructors in Engineering Courses
Macy Reynolds, Roger Reynolds University of Dayton
Adjunct instructors often have trouble finding convenient times to schedule meetings with students because they are not on campus other than just before and after their classes. These meetings are especially important to students who need to clarify concepts from more quantitative content of engineering technology courses. As two adjunct professors at the University of Dayton, the authors have experienced this problem in their computer applications lab and engineering economics classes that they teach in the engineering technology department. In an effort to improve communications with all students, they instituted mandatory weekly journals from the students that briefly react to class concepts, homework, and instruction. These journals are sent as an email messages and are required to follow good email format. The students receive an email response each week commenting on any problems or questions they mentioned. If several students seem to be struggling with the same concept then a general email or a review during the next class will remedy the problem. The results of this dialogue were surprising. A large number of students offered comments and questions that they felt reluctant to state in class but could communicate easily in an email. By the middle of the term they were more comfortable saying that they were not understanding a concept and were happy to set up a convenient time to meet before they got too far behind. Another unanticipated outcome was that many improved the tone and content of the emailed journals. Based on anecdotal evidence gathered throughout two semesters, this paper will promote journaling as a key communication and teaching tool for adjuncts teaching computational classes.
Introduction In 1997 adjunct faculty represented 47 percent of the teaching staff in universities and up to 60 percent in community colleges. In schools of engineering, they hold about 36 percent of all positions in universities.4 Adjunct faculty are often important members of the engineering faculty because they are familiar with current trends and practices in industry and pass them on to their engineering students. Their role in the education of future engineers is especially important in computational class and labs.
However, adjunct faculty members have some barriers to overcome as they enter the academic community. First, they do not have office hours throughout the day so that it is easy for students to schedule appointments. Often they come from their own workplaces and have little time between work and teaching to conference with students. Since many teach evening classes, both students and the professor are reluctant to spend lots of time in individual meetings.
“Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education”
Reynolds, R., & Reynolds, M. (2003, June), Student Journals Promote Communication For Adjunct Instructors In Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11663
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