June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Computers in Education
26.1648.1 - 26.1648.18
Using a Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environment (CCLE) to promote Knowledge Building Pedagogy in an Undergraduate Strength of Materials CourseKnowledge Building (KB) is an instructional approach in which students work as a communityto solve a problem that requires they advance their collective understanding. This process ofcommunity idea improvement takes place through a sustained discourse. KB begins with aquestion or problem, often rooted in observation and developed by the students themselves, suchas why does a glass window pane crack with a particular pattern when subjected to a largetemperature differential? Students are encouraged to generate and post their ideas and theoriesabout the topic and build directly on the ideas of others. This discourse is supported through acomputer supported collaborative learning environment such as Knowledge Forum (KF). Theworkspace preserves an on-going record of the discourse so that participants can return to earlierideas for reflection, synthesis, and refinement. In the process, students develop a questioningattitude, learn to identify personal and collective gaps in knowledge and understanding, becomeself-directed learners who are capable of bringing in new sources of authoritative information,viewing such information from multiple perspectives in support of theory-development, andultimately learn to take collective cognitive responsibility for idea advancement. Studentsengaged in Knowledge Building not only develop a deeper understanding of the technicalcontent of the subject they are studying, they also develop the non-technical “21st century skills”championed by ABET and industry, including the ability to engage in life-long learning, tocommunicate effectively, and to function on multidisciplinary teams while engaged in authentic,real-world problems that require new learning and an effort at creating coherent explanations ofcomplex phenomena.This paper will present a case study of Knowledge Building in an undergraduate course EGR375, Strength of Materials. Two distinct knowledge building episodes were analyzed: (1)students working collaboratively to identify and fill self-identified knowledge gaps related to thematerial covered in lecture, discussion, and the readings, and (2) a take-home exam questionbased on a student-generated question posed after watching a documentary on the making ofSamurai Swords. A rubric was developed for coding student discourse. The analysis highlighteddiscourse that featured asking productive questions, providing elaborated explanations, usingauthoritative information constructively, engaging in metacognitive reflection, and also includedimportant aspects of the community’s social dynamics. Three individuals coded each of the 83notes for analysis. Additional qualitative data were collected through student reflective essaysabout the collaborative exam question. While Knowledge Building occurred in both activities,the nature and quality of the KB that was evident in the discourse was different in the twoscenarios, with more sophisticated KB that focused on well-supported elaborated explanationand constructive use of authoritative information occurring in the higher stakes scenario of thetake-home exam. This work provides an in-depth look at factors contributing to successful use ofKnowledge Building pedagogy in an undergraduate engineering classroom environment. Short-comings, challenges, new questions, and next steps will also be discussed in the full paper.
Mikic, B., & Rudnitsky, A., & Dewald, A. J., & Desai, A. K. (2015, June), Using a Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Environment (CCLE) to Promote Knowledge-Building Pedagogy in an Undergraduate Strength-of-Materials Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24984
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