June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Electrical and Computer
15.1219.1 - 15.1219.13
The Diary of a Mad Student: Exam Diaries and Other Evaluation Schemes
The human cerebral cortex structure supports functions such as 1) sensing, 2) generalizing and 3) evaluating, which are important to the learning process.1 This presentation demonstrates reflective activities that support the natural connection between the brain structure and the learning cycle.2 Activities such as reviewing ideas in journaling exercises for a mathematically rigorous engineering course will be addressed. These techniques are often limited to design- courses that develop “soft-skills” in engineers. Conventional courses, however, subscribe to traditional teaching methods with fewer opportunities for student reflection. Examples of unconventional reflective journaling activities employed in an engineering course that addressed modern physics concepts and semiconductor material topics will be highlighted in this paper.
The teaching and learning model for this course was based on the established theory of the Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle.2 Exam journaling activities were adopted to support the reflective observation phase of the theoretical model and were directly assessed from the exam performance of the student. The journaling exercise required students to re-work any exam problems that the student incorrectly answered and to provide a brief statement that explains the thought process of the student that led to the incorrect solution in the preliminary computational answers to the exam.
Direct assessments of the reflective learning activities are provided in terms of exam results as well as insight to which activities that are supportive and unsupportive of the learning process. Several schemes were used to support and assess the learning needs of the student including simulation activities, in-class exercises and exams. Our preliminary results show that providing sample exam resources without reflective exercises presents the student with a false sense of learning and ultimately poor exam performances. As expected, when reflective journaling supplemented such resources, exam scores improved. As a result, students began to make the connection between the abstract theoretical concepts and familiar physical phenomena.
Reflective skills are important to the development of both hard and soft skills of an engineer.3,4 Such skills can help students practice newly acquired analysis tools as well as assist them in learning from their mistakes. The study presented in this article will provide the results of using reflective activities important to the learning process of engineering students in an advanced technical and mathematically rigorous course. A brief course description is given to establish course expectations placed on the student as well as the practical relevancy of the class. The teaching and learning model presented by Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle2 and its adaptation in the Natural Learning Cycle1 was employed in this course. This work contains the teaching and learning objectives established in this course and examples of reflective journal activities related to written exams. The methods used to assess the student comprehension of the core concepts of the course and future recommendations to enhance the learning process will be discussed.
Wynne, R. (2010, June), The Diary Of A Mad Student: Exam Diaries And Other Evaluation Schemes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16145
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