Asee peer logo

The Impact of Teachers’ Interventions on Collaborative Problem Solving Interactions in Undergraduate Engineering Classrooms

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Teaching Assistants, Supplemental Instruction, and Classroom Support

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35334

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35334

Download Count

131

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Saadeddine Shehab University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign

visit author page

A Postdoc Research Associate at the Siebel Center for Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; studies the role of the teacher in implementing and assessing collaborative problem solving in STEM classrooms

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Research studies recommend many strategies that teachers can implement to improve the quality of student interactions during collaborative problem solving activities in face-to-face STEM classrooms. Little is known about the strategies that teaching assistants (TAs) implement during collaborative problem solving in undergraduate engineering classrooms and the impact of these strategies on the quality of students’ interactions. This study examines how the strategies that two graduate teaching assistants and three undergraduate course assistants (CAs) used to intervene in the groups’ work influenced the quality of students’ interactions in the groups during four collaborative problem solving undergraduate engineering discussion sections. This study is a part of a multi-year design-based implementation project that aims to develop tools to support collaborative problem solving in undergraduate engineering courses. Participants were two TAs, three CAs, and 45 undergraduate engineering students (29 males and 16 females) in 14 small groups (3 to 4 students per group). The data for this study were collected during four 50-minutes discussion sections that were a required part of an introductory engineering course at a large Midwestern university. Each discussion section was taught by one TA and two CAs. During all discussion sections, students worked in small groups to solve the same ill-structured, authentic engineering task. The task was on 11-inch tablets, with project software installed. Each student had one tablet; tablets of students in the same group were synchronized, so that members of each group worked on and contributed to the same document. The video recordings of the 14 groups were transcribed for analysis. The analysis focused on task-related intervention episodes. An intervention episode began when the teacher joined a group and ended when the teacher left it. There was a total of 61 task-related intervention episodes across the four discussion sections. Two emergent coding schemes were used to identify the initiating move and the follow up moves that the teacher used at the beginning and during an intervention episode. The codes and sequence of the moves in each intervention episode were examined to identify the strategy that teachers used to intervene with the groups’ work. Verbal interactions of the groups were also coded on the collaborative, cognitive and metacognitive dimensions within an interval of one minute before and one minute after the time when the intervention occurred. The coded turns were examined and compared to identify how the teachers’ intervention strategies influenced the quality of students’ interaction in the groups. Findings show that providing elaborated answers to students’ questions or explanations of problem solving procedures had a negative impact on the quality of students’ interactions in groups. Clarifying task related issues by providing simple answers to students’ clarification questions or probing and exploring students’ understandings until they figured out their next step had a positive impact on the quality of students’ interactions in groups. Findings from this study can inform programs that aim at preparing TAs for implementing collaborative problem solving activities in undergraduate engineering classrooms.

Shehab, S. (2020, June), The Impact of Teachers’ Interventions on Collaborative Problem Solving Interactions in Undergraduate Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35334

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015