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The Back To Basics Peer Tutoring Program: Results And Experiences

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

FPD8 - Early Intervention & Retention

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

13.1205.1 - 13.1205.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/3170

Download Count

35

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Paper Authors

biography

Mukul Shirvaikar University of Texas at Tyler

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MUKUL SHIRVAIKAR received the Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1993. He is currently the Interim Chair and Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler. He has also held positions at Texas Instruments and the University of West Florida. His research interests include real-time imaging, embedded systems, pattern recognition, and dual-core processor architectures. At the University of Texas he has started a new real-time systems lab using dual-core processor technology. He is also the principal investigator for the†Back-To-Basic project aimed at engineering student retention.

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biography

David Beams University of Texas at Tyler

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DAVID M. BEAMS is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler. He received his BS and MS degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in and the Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has had over 16 years of industrial experience in addition to his 10 years with UT-Tyler. He is a licensed professional engineer in Wisconsin and Texas and holds or shares four patents.

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Sagun Shrestha University of Texas at Tyler

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SAGUN SHRESTHA is pursuing his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler and expects to graduate in 2008. He is a tutor in the Back-To-Basics program and the president of the local student chapter of the IEEE. His other interests include operating systems and electronics design projects.

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

The Back-To-Basics Peer Tutoring Program: Results and Experiences

Abstract

Engineering institutions nationwide are facing a troika of problems: recruitment, student preparedness and retention. The situation has merited national attention due to potential impact on the status of the nation as a global technical leader. With the onslaught of global economics, the number of students enrolled in engineering programs has been steadily decreasing in the United States. Due to these factors, it is of vital importance, more than ever before, that students who choose the engineering path are nurtured and retained in the system. This viewpoint is not shared however by the service departments that deal with the “masses”. The student retention rate for the first and second years of engineering programs has been steady at around 50%. It is our belief that a program addressing the students affected can make a significant impact on retention statistics. A formalized system that allows experienced students in our degree program to tutor pre-engineering courses appears to be very attractive.

The "Back-to-Basics Tutoring Program" was launched in fall, 2005 in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, with financial support of the State Workforce Development Commission. The program offers an opportunity for qualified graduate students and upper- division undergraduate students to serve as tutors to assist freshman and sophomore engineering students with course-related questions. The program consists of focused student-to-student tutoring for engineering students in the basic areas of sciences (physics and chemistry), mathematics (calculus and differential equations) and computer programming (structured programming and MATLAB) to help them survive the first two years of the program. A previous paper presented in this forum described the structure and assessment methods of the "Back-to- Basics" tutoring and mentoring program and provided preliminary results.

This paper presents an analysis of the data collected under this program over a period of two years, along with experiences, lessons learned, and results. The data consists of statistical analyses of retention rates, including measures to show whether the program works. Such data typically do not have a mechanism to dissociate the effect of “self-selection”. The raw data suggest that the program is helping students achieve higher grades and increasing retention. A set of interesting results from the analysis of student surveys is also presented.

Introduction

Engineering institutions nationwide are facing a troika of problems: recruitment, student preparedness and retention. With the onslaught of global economics, the number of students enrolled in engineering programs has been steadily decreasing in the United States. The situation has merited national attention due to potential impact on the status of the nation as a global technical leader. The recent report “Rising Above the Gathering Storm” brings the issues to the forefront as well as possible remedies1. It is emphasized by many experts that the increasingly competitive global marketplace will demand a lot more from our engineering graduates in the

Shirvaikar, M., & Beams, D., & Shrestha, S. (2008, June), The Back To Basics Peer Tutoring Program: Results And Experiences Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/3170

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