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The Significance And Limitations Of The Vanth Observation System Within Engineering Classrooms

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Conference

2003 Annual Conference

Location

Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Understanding Students: Cognition

Page Count

5

Page Numbers

8.1165.1 - 8.1165.5

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/11720

Download Count

47

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Paper Authors

author page

Alene Harris

author page

Monica Cox Purdue University

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session XXXX

THE SIGNIFICANCE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE VANTH OBSERVATION SYSTEM WITHIN ENGINEERING CLASSROOMS

Monica Farmer Cox, Alene H. Harris, Ph.D. Department of Leadership, Policy and Organizations, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University/ Department of Teaching and Learning, Peabody College at Vanderbilt University

Abstract This paper explores both the significance and the lim itations of the VaNTH Observation System (VOS). The VOS was originally developed for use at the VaNTH Engineering Research Center in bioengineering classrooms at Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Science and Technology. This instrument is designed to capture (1) the number and dura tion of faculty-student interactions in a classroom, (2) the engagement of students during a lesson, (3) the lesson content, lesson context, and extenuating circumstances in a classroom, and (4) the global aspects of a class lesson. The VOS is a significant assessment tool because it identifies both the time and the duration of student group work that is occurring within a classroom, it parses out faculty and student initiation of higher order learning skills, and it reflects various elements of current “How People Learn” (HPL) learning theory4. In addition, the VOS captures differences among faculty’s teaching styles and identifies the effects of a classroom’s physical layout upon a lecture. Moreover, VOS generates detailed feedback which faculty may use to self-assess their pedagogical skills. However, limitations still exist. Yet despite these limitations, the VOS is a tool that provides qualitative and quantitative classroom observation data and shows how faculty teaching styles might affect student outcomes.

Background and Introduction In the fall of 1999, bioengineering and learning science faculties at four universities (Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Harvard/Massachusetts Institute of Technology Division of Health Science and Technology [VaNTH]), received a National Science Foundation grant to support a collaborative effort within an Engineering Research Center (ERC) for bioengineering educational technologies. A main goal of this ERC is the improvement of teaching in bioengineering. Collaborators within the VaNTH assessment and evaluation thrust worked together to develop the VaNTH Observation System (VOS), an assessment tool that captures (1) the number and duration of faculty-student interactions in a classroom, (2) the engagement of students during a lesson, (3) the lesson content, lesson context, and extenuating circumstances in a classroom, and (4) the global aspects of a class lesson. This paper explores both the significance and the limitations of the VaNTH Observation System (VOS) within bioengineering classrooms. Although the VOS is in its implementation phase, the authors hypothesize that the VOS will be significant. It has the capability to measure the integration of “How People Learn” learning theory4 into class lessons in the various domains of bioengineering and because of its ability to provide an empirical measure of postsecondary classroom and teacher activities and create a system that, when used effectively, can provide

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Harris, A., & Cox, M. (2003, June), The Significance And Limitations Of The Vanth Observation System Within Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. https://peer.asee.org/11720

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