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The Use Of Active Learning In Design Of Engineering Experiments

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Statistics in the CHE Curriculum

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1179.1 - 8.1179.7

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Paper Authors

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Gerardine Botte

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

The Use of Active Learning in Design of Engineering Experiments

Gerardine G. Botte Ohio University 183 Stocker Center Athens, OH 45701

This paper discusses the issues and experiences in developing an active learning atmosphere during a Design of Engineering Experiments course. The course covered three main topics: introduction to statistics, design of experiments, and statistical process control. Twelve undergraduate students at the sophomore and junior levels participated in the course. The course was taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth. A highly motivated classroom environment was achieved by using a combination of the following techniques: real life examples, classroom projects (individual and group), brainstorming, computer-guided sessions, and a special-interest course project. The special-interest project used hobbies of the students to enlarge their enthusiasm for the course; for instance, one of the students worked on a project to use fractional factorial design to improve her performance in her hammer throw competition; another student used the same technique to improve her performance when playing tennis. Examples of the case- studies developed for the course, classroom, and take-home projects will be presented and discussed, including their impact on the students. Some of the special interest projects developed by the students will be shown and discussed.

Introduction The idea of creating an enthusiastic learning atmosphere in the classroom is the dream of any teacher. Of course, that is a dream that depends upon many factors: the enthusiasm of the professor, the motivation of the students, the number of students in the class, and the difficulty of the content covered in the course. Nevertheless, there are some general strategies and tips that can be used to create a keen atmosphere for learning in the classroom. These strategies form part of what is called “active learning.” Traditionally, it is expected that students will be involved in active learning by listening to the lectures and doing some projects out of the classroom that will make them use the concepts learned in class. This conventional way of learning is driven by the constraint in the time of the lecture period and by the fact that the student should demonstrate his/her interests for learning. However, the research literature suggests1 “that students must do more than just listen. They must read, write, discuss, or be engaged in solving problems. Most important to be actively involved, students must engage in such higher-order thinking tasks as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Within this context, it is proposed that strategies promoting active learning be defined as instructional activities involving students in doing things and thinking about what they are doing.” Basically, it is suggested that the lecture time be divided so that the students can do all these activities (read, write, discuss, and be engage in solving problems) in the classroom. The instructor serves as a mentor, and the students learn by doing small

Botte, G. (2003, June), The Use Of Active Learning In Design Of Engineering Experiments Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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