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Teaching The Millennial Student, Adapting The Learning Framework For Material Science

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Knowing Our Students, Faculty, and Profession

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1158.1 - 14.1158.8



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Paper Authors

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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



Faculty are responsible for teaching courses that are current and use pedagogy up to date with the students of today. The current generation of university students consisting of those born after 1980 and graduating high school following the year 2000 are pegged the Millenials1. This generation, has demonstrated many unique characteristics that can make them successful in the academic and economic world of the future. For the Millenials cell phones, text messages and instant messages are their chosen communication methods. For these student to walk into a classroom and be “lectured at” for an hour is near death. As the students change the pedagogy must also change. Taking concepts from Educational Psychology the cognitive learning framework will be used to construct the study. Introduction to Materials Science, MEEN 360 is redesigned using this learning framework. Some believe that there are two ways that teachers can add significance to teaching and learning. One is by helping students learn about additional things, e.g., about themselves, about others, about learning. A second way is by helping students change in different ways, e.g., by attempting to change their ability to think about the subject, their ability to "do" something, their ability to connect different kinds of knowing, or the degree to which they "care" about something2. Thought was put into creating an instructional strategy not just changing a few teaching techniques. The approach involved creating a “Castle Top” diagram for the course which will is explained as a diagram looking like the turrets on a castle containing in class and out of class activities2. Is this extra work on the part of the faculty necessary or does the improved pedagogy also serve to increase the millennial student’s self efficacy and confidence. Formative and summative student assessments will be discussed in the paper. Assessment tools included a pre and post concept inventory of learned materials and longitudinal studies throughout the course of student confidence and attitudes. The student’s feedback demonstrated that not only did the students express satisfaction with the style of the course but the data showed that their confidence improved and the summative data has served as a source of faculty discussion.


Our students today come primarily from the millennial generation3. Professors should try to understand that Millenials consume and gain knowledge from a wide range of media, often simultaneously. These students are characterized by the following unique characteristics taken from Jeanna Mastrodicasa in her article on the Millennial Generation3.

≠ This generation was wanted and they feel individually and collectively special as a result. They feel connected to their parents. They are optimistic and engaged.

≠ This generation was highly protected and sheltered by parents and authority figures. Many had overindulgent parents. They were rarely left unsupervised. They are comfortable with significant parental involvement, and they expect parents and college

Waters, C. (2009, June), Teaching The Millennial Student, Adapting The Learning Framework For Material Science Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5328

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