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The iCollaborate MSE Project: Progress Update 2014

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.1222.1 - 24.1222.20



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Paper Authors


Kathleen L. Kitto Western Washington University

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Kathleen L. Kitto is the Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Research at Western Washington University. Previously, she was Special Assistant to the Provost for Strategic Initiatives, founding Associate Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology, and Chair of the Engineering Technology Department. She has published widely and is a known advocate for the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in STEM disciplines.

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Debra Sue Jusak Western Washington University

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Dr. Jusak is a professor of computer science. She taught for twenty-two years, was department chair for four of those years, and graduate program advisor for three. She is currently serving as special assistant to the provost.

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The iCollaborate MSE Project: Progress Update 2014AbstractThe iCollaborate Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) project is a multiyear,multifaceted research project designed to understand how student learning outcomes,student engagement, and successful course completion rates in introductory MSE coursesare affected by a variety of programs and activities that are based upon best practicesfrom STEM education research. A number of interventions and active techniques wereused in the classroom, at first, singularly, and, as the project progressed, in variouscombinations. Additionally, a wide variety of faculty and student resources were createdas part of this project. For example, test device MSE iPod applications were developedfor iCollaborate: Concept Questions, Vocabulary, Basic Knowledge, Tune-Up, MaterialProperties, Composite Calculator, MSE Convert, and MSE Knowledge Tools andReview. Furthermore, a concept map based web site, which includes web applications ofmany of the iPod applications is currently under construction. Initially, the overallpurpose of the website was envisioned as a repository of project resources, but as theproject proceeded, it became obvious that the students perceived the concept map andweb tools as essential parts of the project and their view of their personal successstrategies.Overall, the basic principles implemented in the project are supported by theory based incognitive and social constructivism; and, the substantial body of evidence that favorscollaborative learning and the inductive approach over the traditional lecture driven,deductive teaching approach. Collaborative learning, active/inquiry learning, conceptlearning, peer learning, problem/case-based learning, low stakes quizzing, mini-lectureswith just-in-time reading, collaborate research writing, and constructive alignment are allpart of the project. The developed iCollaborate learning exercises are conceptuallytargeted, designed to provide scaffolds to prior knowledge, and are active, inquiry basedmodules. Not surprisingly, we found that students come to the course with differentlevels of preparation, and that scores in pre-requisite courses do matter, but are notalways perfect indicators that key information from those courses was retained. Studentsenter the course with a wide range of learning styles, and some pre-requisite informationis retained or learned differently based on individual learning styles (as measured by ourassessments). Based on our findings, we recommend that every instructor evaluate thepre-requisite knowledge of their students and complete targeted interventions aimed atknown robust misconceptions and local knowledge gaps. Overall, the students were ableto understand the relationships between the collaborative assignments, the low stakesquizzes, and the mini-lectures in helping them learn different types of concepts.This paper concentrates on previously unreported components of the iCollaborate projectthat were investigated, evaluated, or developed during the 2012-2013 academic year. Thedevelopment of the iCollaborate concept map and web applications web site isemphasized in this paper. The paper concludes with a summary of findings thus far fromthe project and a discussion of future directions and research opportunities. The plans forthe final year of the project will be discussed.  The National Science Foundation is supporting the project (NSF CCLI/TUES#XXXXX).

Kitto, K. L., & Jusak, D. S. (2014, June), The iCollaborate MSE Project: Progress Update 2014 Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23155

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