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Using Collective Wisdom to Enhance Experimental Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Adaptation of Laboratory-based Courses During a Pandemic: Experimentation and Laboratory-oriented Studies Division

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Experimentation and Laboratory-Oriented Studies

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Paper Authors


Jason Yao East Carolina University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jianchu (Jason) Yao is a Professor with the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University (ECU), Greenville, North Carolina, USA. He is currently the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs of the College of Engineering and Technology. He received a B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, China, in 1992 and 1995, respectively, and the Ph. D. degree in electrical engineering from Kansas State University in 2005. He served as a controls engineer in China from 1995 to 2000. His current research interests include wearable medical devices, telehealthcare, bioinstrumentation, biosignal processing, and control systems. His educational research interests are laboratory/project-driven learning and integration of research into undergraduate education. Dr. Yao is a member of the American Society of Engineering Education and a senior member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), to which he has been an active volunteer.

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Ricky T. Castles East Carolina University

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Dr. Ricky Castles is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University. He serves as concentration coordinator for ECU's Electrical Engineering concentration. His research work focuses on the use of wireless sensor networks, microcontrollers, and physiological data collection for a variety of applications. His primary interest is in the area of adaptive tutorial systems, but he has ongoing projects in the area of health monitoring. He also is currently PI on a multi-institutional NSF S-STEM award.

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Chris Venters East Carolina University

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Chris Venters is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, USA. He teaches introductory courses in engineering design and mechanics and upper-level courses in fluid mechanics. He earned his Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech in 2014, and his research primarily focuses on conceptual understanding in engineering mechanics courses. He received his M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech and his B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from North Carolina State University.

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Nic Herndon

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Melinda T. Doty East Carolina University

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The explosion of the COVID-19 hit all education institutions unprepared in Spring 2020. Many had to pivot to online instruction with little preparation and no response time. The summer, while most universities offered few courses, was the time for faculty to regather resource and prepare for the fall semester. Many anticipated the likelihood of teaching online again and saw challenges associated with this instructional model, especially for laboratory courses. A group of enthusiastic and experienced faculty members in the College of Engineering and Technology at XXXX University congregated and started a weekly Faculty Connection Hour (FCH) to network the college faculty and share pedagogical ideas for remote teaching. Multiple of these sessions focused on innovative ways to provide remote laboratory learning experiences comparable to their conventional face-to-face alternatives. A large number of faculty members contributed to and benefited from these discussions. The FCH started with identifying challenges imposed to laboratory learning by the remote instruction model and was able to discover fifteen strategies that can potentially facilitate the adaption of laboratory learning to the new model. It also recognized that, although there may not be a single strategy that can resolve all the issues existing in a course, laboratory learning objectives can often be achieved by using a combination of different strategies. Collective wisdom gathered from FCH discussions seemed to have equipped faculty with pedagogical ideas for the pivoting. Equally importantly, the connection built through these virtual meetings helped isolated faculty to recognize that they were not fighting the hardships alone; instead all members shared the same adversities. In a sense, it reduced stresses and allowed faculty time to reset and unwind.

Yao, J., & Castles, R. T., & Venters, C., & Herndon, N., & Doty, M. T. (2021, July), Using Collective Wisdom to Enhance Experimental Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37987

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