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The iCollaborate MSE Project - 2012

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

NSF Grantees' Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1304.1 - 25.1304.22



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Paper Authors

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Kathleen L. Kitto Western Washington University


Debra S. Jusak Western Washington University

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Debra S. Jusak has been employed at Western Washington University for 24 years. During most of that time, she was a professor in the Computer Science Department with interests in distributed systems, operating systems, computer architecture, and formal models of computing. She is now Vice Provost for Academic Resources. Jusak directed the group of computer science students that implemented the materials science iPod Touch applications.

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The iCollaborate MSE Project - 2012This paper describes various components of the iCollaborate MSE [Materials Science andEngineering] project. The overall objectives of the research are to measure ifimprovements in student learning outcomes, student engagement, and course completionrates are possible if the structure in a basic materials engineering course is transformedfrom primarily deductive practice to an Information Communication Technology (ICT)enabled inductive teaching and learning environment. There are two major componentsof this research project. The first element is the change in course form from deductive toinductive practice. The second element of our project tests ICT devices (iPod Touches)to facilitate collaborative, conceptual, and peer learning, along with basic knowledgeacquisition for individual learners.In the new class format, students complete conceptually targeted problem sets and year-long research papers in collaborative groups. There are ample opportunities for conceptquestions, peer learning, case studies, and low stakes quizzes. MSE educationapplications for the iPod Touch have been built to support collaborative as well as peerlearning and self-evaluation quizzing. In-class concept quizzes and just-in-time readingassignments are important components of the new learning environment. Studentprogress is tracked with pre- and post-course concept questionnaires, cores fromtraditional exam questions, and successful course completion rates.The standard multi-touch features of the iPod are easy for students to use and studentsexplore applications freely. With the iPod Touch it is easy to switch among vocabularypractice cards, concept questions, basic knowledge or “tune-up” questions, andexplorations of materials properties, the periodic chart, or practice unit conversions. Thematerials within the applications are conceptually contained so that while exploration andhigher order connections are still encouraged, the students are not overwhelmed withchoices. The multi-media format of the iPod Touch allows applications thataccommodate different student learning styles. To date the following applications havebeen built: Vocabulary, Concept Questions, Tune-Up, Basic Knowledge, MaterialProperties, Convert, and we are building the content for the completed MSE KnowledgeTools application.We have three data sets that allow us to evaluate the research questions initially posed.The first data set is for a section of the course taught in a primarily deductiveenvironment with individual projects. The second data set is for a course sectioninductively taught with students completing collaborative, learning objective targetedproblem sets, and in-class quizzes. The third data set, now being collected, operatesunder the same conditions as data set two, but with iPod Touch support. Overall, therewere improved student learning objective outcomes as measured by scores on certainquestions in standard exams between data sets one and two. We anticipate further gainsin data set three. Two additional sections of the course will be taught in differentinductive practice configurations to determine if the effects of the different inductivepractice elements can be separated. Data sets one, two, and three show no significantdifference overall in student preparation for the course.The National Science Foundation is supporting the project (NSF CCLI Project#0941012).

Kitto, K. L., & Jusak, D. S. (2012, June), The iCollaborate MSE Project - 2012 Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22061

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