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Understanding Context: Propagation and Effectiveness of the Concept Warehouse in Mechanical Engineering at Five Diverse Institutions and Beyond – Results from Year 2

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37954

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

biography

Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Brian Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Brian has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

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Milo Koretsky Tufts University

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Milo Koretsky is the McDonnell Family Bridge Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering and in the Department of Education at Tufts University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals.

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Christopher Papadopoulos University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

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Christopher Papadopoulos is Professor in the Department of Engineering Sciences and Materials at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM). He earned B.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and Mathematics from Carnegie Mellon University (1993) and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at Cornell University (1999). Prior to UPRM, Papadopoulos served on the faculty in the Department of Civil engineering and Mechanics at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Papadopoulos has diverse research and teaching interests in structural mechanics and bioconstruction (with emphasis in bamboo); appropriate technology; engineering ethics; and mechanics education. He has served as PI of several NSF-sponsored research projects and is co-author of Lying by Approximation: The Truth about Finite Element Analysis. He is active in the Mechanics Division.

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James M. Widmann California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Jim Widmann is a professor and chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. He received his Ph.D. in 1994 from Stanford University and has served as a Fulbright Scholar at Kathmandu University it Nepal. At Cal Poly, he teaches the College of Engineering's interdisciplinary, industry sponsored, senior project class as well as course in mechanics and design. He also conducts research in the areas of creative design, machine design, fluid power control, and engineering education.

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Abstract

It has been well-established that concept-based active learning strategies increase student retention, improve engagement and student achievement, and reduce the performance gap of underrepresented students. Despite the evidence supporting concept-based instruction, many faculty continue to stress algorithmic problem solving. In fact, the biggest challenge to improving STEM education is not the need to develop more effective instructional practices, but to find ways to get faculty to adopt the evidence-based pedagogies that already exist.

Our project aims to propagate the Concept Warehouse (CW), an online innovation tool that was developed in the Chemical Engineering community, into Mechanical Engineering (ME). A portion of our work focuses on content development in mechanics, and includes statics, dynamics, and to a lesser extent strength of materials. Our content development teams had created 170 statics and 253 dynamics questions. Additionally, we have developed four different simulations to be embedded in online Instructional Tools – these are interactive modules that provided different physical scenarios to help students understand important concepts in mechanics.

During initial interviews, we found that potential adopters needed coaching on the benefits of concept-based instruction, training on how to use the CW, and support on how to best implement the different affordances offered by the CW. This caused a slight shift in our initial research plans, and much of our recent work has concentrated on using faculty development activities to help us advertise the CW and encourage evidence-based practices. From these activities, we are recruiting participants for surveys and interviews to help us investigate how different contexts affect the adoption of educational innovations. A set of two summer workshops attracted over 270 applicants, and over 60 participants attended each synchronous offering. Other applicants were provided links to recordings of the workshop.

From these participants, we recruited 20 participants to join our Community of Practice (CoP). These members are sharing how they use the CW in their classes, especially in the virtual environment. Community members discuss using evidence-based practices, different things that the CW can do, and suggest potential improvements to the tool. They will also be interviewed to help us determine barriers to adoption, how their institutional contexts and individual epistemologies affect adoption, and how they have used the CW in their classes. Our research will help us formulate strategies that others can use when attempting to propagate pedagogical innovations.

Self, B. P., & Koretsky, M., & Papadopoulos, C., & Widmann, J. M. (2021, July), Understanding Context: Propagation and Effectiveness of the Concept Warehouse in Mechanical Engineering at Five Diverse Institutions and Beyond – Results from Year 2 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37954

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