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The Variation of Nontraditional Teaching Methods Across 17 Undergraduate Engineering Classrooms

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Quantitative Research Methods

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29021

Download Count

128

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Paper Authors

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Kevin A. Nguyen University of Texas, Austin Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2445-7529

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Kevin Nguyen is currently a doctoral student in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education program at University of Texas at Austin. He has a B.S. and M.Eng in Environmental Engineering both from Texas Tech University. As an engineering and STEM education researcher, he draws on a variety of social science research methods from ethnography to regression modeling. He is currently working on two projects: engineering faculty's use of active learning and an ethnographic study of a citizen science student community.

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Robert Matthew DeMonbrun University of Michigan

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Matt DeMonbrun is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education (CSHPE) in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. His research interests include college student development theory, intergroup interactions, and teaching and learning practices and how they relate to student learning outcomes in engineering education.

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Maura J. Borrego University of Texas, Austin

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Maura Borrego is Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. She previously served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation and an associate dean and director of interdisciplinary graduate programs. Her research awards include U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a National Science Foundation CAREER award, and two outstanding publication awards from the American Educational Research Association for her journal articles. Dr. Borrego is Deputy Editor for Journal of Engineering Education and served on the board of the American Society for Engineering Education as Chair of Professional Interest Council IV. All of Dr. Borrego’s degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering. Her M.S. and Ph.D. are from Stanford University, and her B.S. is from University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University

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Dr. Michael Prince is a professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University and co-director of the National Effective Teaching Institute. His research examines a range of engineering education topics, including how to assess and repair student misconceptions and how to increase the adoption of research-based instructional strategies by college instructors and corporate trainers. He is actively engaged in presenting workshops on instructional design to both academic and corporate instructors.

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Jenefer Husman University of Oregon

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Jenefer Husman received a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, in 1998. She served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama from 1998 to 2002, when she moved to Arizona State University. In 2008 she was promoted by ASU to Associate Professor. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Educational Studies Department at the University of Oregon. Dr. Husman served as the Director of Education for the Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technology Center - an NSF-funded Engineering Research Center from 2011-2016. Dr. Husman is an assistant editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, and is a member of the editorial board of Learning and Instruction. In 2006 she was awarded the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER grant award and received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers from the President of the United States. She has conducted and advised on educational research projects and grants in both the public and private sectors, and served as an external reviewer for doctoral dissertations outside the U.S. She publishes regularly in peer-reviewed journals and books. Dr. Husman was a founding member and first President of the Southwest Consortium for Innovative Psychology in Education and has held both elected and appointed offices in the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Motivation Special Interest Group of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction.

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Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Associate Professor of Education, and Director of Engineering Education Research at University of Michigan. Her research areas include student resistance to active learning, the impact of the classroom space on teaching and learning, the use of classroom technology to increase student learning and engagement, and faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices. She recently led an international initiative to develop a taxonomy for the field of engineering education research. Dr. Finelli is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE. She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at University of Michigan in 2003 and served as its Director for 12 years.

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Prateek Shekhar University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6552-2887

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Prateek Shekhar is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. His research is focused on examining translation of engineering education research in practice, assessment and evaluation of dissemination initiatives and educational programs in engineering disciplines. He holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, M.S. in Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California and B.S. in Electronics and Communication Engineering from India.

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Charles Henderson Western Michigan University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0334-6739

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Charles Henderson is a Professor at Western Michigan University (WMU), with a joint appointment between the Physics Department and the WMU Mallinson Institute for Science Education. He is the co-founder and co-director of the WMU Center for Research on Instructional Change in Postsecondary Education (CRICPE). His research program focuses on understanding and promoting instructional change in higher education, with an emphasis on improving undergraduate STEM instruction. Dr. Henderson’s work has been supported by over $7M in external grants and has resulted in a many publications (see http://homepages.wmich.edu/~chenders). He is a Fulbright Scholar and a Fellow of the American Physical Society. Dr. Henderson is the senior editor for the journal "Physical Review Physics Education Research" and has served on two National Academy of Sciences Committees: Undergraduate Physics Education Research and Implementation, and Developing Indicators for Undergraduate STEM Education.

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Cindy Waters North Carolina A&T State University

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Her research team is skilled matching these newer manufacturing techniques to distinct material choices and the unique materials combination for specific applications. She is also renowned for her work in the Engineering Education realm working with faculty motivation for change and re-design of Material Science courses for more active pedagogies

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Abstract

This research paper aims to explore the variation of nontraditional teaching methods (such as inductive teaching methods, active learning, pedagogies of engagement, and research based instructional strategies) in engineering classes in the United States. Numerous articles have demonstrated the effectiveness of nontraditional teaching methods in STEM classrooms, and the adoption of such methods has increased across the nation. But, more work needs to be done to explore how instructors are implementing nontraditional teaching methods. In this research study, we collected data from 17 diverse engineering classrooms across the nation and ask two research questions: (1) What are the perceived predominant types of instruction in undergraduate engineering classrooms that feature nontraditional teaching methods? (2) Is there a statistically significant difference in the perceived amount of traditional lecturing in undergraduate engineering classrooms that feature nontraditional teaching methods?

In our study, we recruited faculty teaching undergraduate engineering courses who employed nontraditional teaching methods and invited all students to complete the Student Response to Instructional Practices Survey (StRIP). Nontraditional teaching methods on the StRIP Survey included items such as individual and group problem solving, previewing concepts and material before class, and discussing questions in class. The StRIP Survey also included traditional teaching methods such as listening to the instructor lecture during class or watching the instructor solve problems. In total, our study collected data from 17 engineering classes, and 997 students during the 2015-16 academic year. To answer our first question, we used descriptive statistics of nontraditional teaching methods displayed in a graphical representation. To answer the second question, we conducted a Kruskal-Wallis H test to test for a statistically significant difference between classes. Even though all classes were sampled for their nontraditional teaching methods, many still incorporated traditional teaching methods alongside their nontraditional teaching methods. Traditional teaching methods such as passive lecture were the most frequently used teaching approach in 10 of the 17 classes. However, alluding to our second research question, there was a statistically significant difference in students’ perception of passive lecture based by course, Kruskal-Wallis χ2 = 394.3, df = 16, p < 0.001.

Our results indicate that engineering instructors use multiple types of activities across classrooms, and labeling an entire course as nontraditional or active learning based may be problematic, as there is much variation and nuances that occurs in engineering classrooms. Furthermore, we find that most classes include a mix of traditional and nontraditional teaching methods, and implementing nontraditional teaching methods in the undergraduate engineering classroom does not always imply abandoning lecture. Our future work involves exploring how instructors implement these activities, how these teaching methods relate to students’ evaluation of the instructor, and how faculty professional development can be used to help instructors implement activities as well as relating perceived use of teaching methods to institutional demographics, instructor’s gender, course types, and other characteristics.

Nguyen, K. A., & DeMonbrun, R. M., & Borrego, M. J., & Prince, M. J., & Husman, J., & Finelli, C. J., & Shekhar, P., & Henderson, C., & Waters, C. (2017, June), The Variation of Nontraditional Teaching Methods Across 17 Undergraduate Engineering Classrooms Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29021

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: © 2017 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