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The Next Frontier: Integrating Spatial Reasoning into a First-Year Engineering Course

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Conference

2021 First-Year Engineering Experience

Location

Virtual

Publication Date

August 9, 2021

Start Date

August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38408

Download Count

18

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Paper Authors

biography

Kristine K. Craven Tennessee Technological University

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Dr. Kris Craven is currently an Associate Professor in the General and Basic Engineering (GBE) Department at Tennessee Tech University (TTU). I have been employed by TTU since 2000 primarily teaching in the Basic Engineering Program. I have also been teaching junior level courses for the Mechanical Engineering department for several years. In addition to ASEE, I am a member of the Society of Women Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Sigma Xi, and Pi Tau Sigma.

One of my passions is freshman engineering students. I truly enjoy teaching and working with the first-year students. Another passion is outreach activities. I have participated in the starting and running of three different outreach programs that are working to increase the number of female engineering students by getting young girls interested while still attending primary school.

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Laura Cruz

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Laura Cruz (Ph.D, UC Berkeley 2001) is an Associate Research Professor for Teaching & Learning Scholarship with the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence at Penn State. She previously served as the director of two Centers for Teaching and Learning; as editor-in-chief of three teaching-related journals, as elected member of the national board for faculty developers in the United States, and as principle investigator for four externally funded grants. Her 100+ publications and invited presentations include work in her first discipline (history) as well as the areas of design thinking, educational development, organizational change, and educational innovation. Her most recent co-authored book, Taking Flight: Making your Center for Teaching and Learning Soar was published in 2020 by Stylus Press.

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Jennifer Renee Meadows Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0059-8922

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Dr. Jennifer Meadows is an Associate Professor in the Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Department at Tennessee Tech University (TTU). She holds a Ph.D. in Exceptional Learning with a STEM Education Concentration. As an educator for over 20 years, Dr. Meadows has experience teaching as well as designing and facilitating professional development for both K-12 and higher education. Her primary research interests are in interdisciplinary teaching and learning, STEM curriculum and assessment, STEM teacher education, and informal STEM education.

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Abstract

Background: Previous research demonstrates a strong link between a student’s ability in spatial reasoning and visualization and the potential for success in STEM fields, specifically engineering. Therefore, a first-year engineering course is lacking if it doesn't include skills development in the area of spatial reasoning and visualization. Purpose: This study was designed to evaluate a set of teaching interventions intended to strengthen the spatial reasoning of engineering students enrolled in a large, first-year engineering graphics course. The interventions were devised to adapt existing best practices to meet current environmental conditions, integrate new understanding of the cognitive aspects of spatial reasoning, and reflect changes in the practice of engineering. Method: Pre-test and Post-tests (using a custom-designed instrument) were obtained from students enrolled in ENGR 1110: Engineering Graphics. Between the tests, students engaged in a set of inter-related teaching interventions to foster spatial reasoning at foundational and intermediate levels. The results of the tests were analyzed in an effort to determine the effectiveness of the teaching interventions in fostering spatial reasoning as well as increasing other aspects of student success. Results: Evidence supported increasing practice in spatial reasoning for freshman-level engineering students. The analysis of the pre-test ant post-test scores showed a significant difference in student achievement with the post-test scores increasing by a mean of approximately 4 out of a possible 10 points. Conclusions: Our results suggest that spatial reasoning among beginning engineering students can be positively affected by strategic, scaffolded interventions guiding students from configuring, to imagining, and finally to constructing objects. Further investigation is necessary at a wider, program-level. Keywords: spatial reasoning; persistence; STEM education; large enrollment courses; scaffolding

Craven, K. K., & Cruz, L., & Meadows, J. R. (2021, August), The Next Frontier: Integrating Spatial Reasoning into a First-Year Engineering Course Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/38408

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