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Using Concept Maps for Assessment and Improvement of a Multi-Section Introduction to Engineering Course

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Proven Strategies in Classroom Engagement Part II: Activities for Creative Pedagogy

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Mary Roth Lafayette College

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Mary Roth is the Simon Cameron Long Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. She received her degrees in civil engineering from Lafayette College (B.S.), Cornell University (M.S.), and University of Maine (Ph.D.). She joined the faculty at Lafayette in 1991 and her research interests include risk assessment for earth retaining structures, site investigation methods in karst, and engineering pedagogy. She has authored or co-authored over 50 publications and has served as principal or co-principal investigator on nine grants from the National Science Foundation. At Lafayette College Dr. Roth has served as Department Head of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Director of Engineering, and Associate Provost for Academic Operations in addition to multiple faculty committee assignments. She has led campus-wide accreditation and assessment initiatives, implemented new faculty orientation programs, collaborated on the development of multiple proposals to private foundations, and coordinated interdisciplinary academic programs. She has received a number of awards in recognition of her scholarship and teaching including a Fulbright Scholarship in Norway, an American Council of Education Fellowship, and multiple teaching awards. Dr. Roth is a member of ASCE, ASFE, and ASEE. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Tau Beta Pi and is a licensed engineer in the states of Maine and Pennsylvania.

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Kristen L. Sanford Bernhardt Lafayette College Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kristen Sanford Bernhardt is chair of the Engineering Studies program and associate professor of Civil
and Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College. Her expertise is in sustainable civil infrastructure
management and transportation systems. She teaches a variety of courses including sustainability of built
systems, transportation systems, transportation planning, civil infrastructure management, and Lafayette’s
introductory first year engineering course. Dr. Sanford Bernhardt serves on the American Society of Civil
Engineers’ Committees on Education and Faculty Development and the Transportation Research Board
Committee on Education and Training. She previously has served as vice-chair of the ASCE Infrastructure
Systems Committee, chair of the ASEE’s Civil Engineering Division, and a member of the Transportation
Research Board committees on Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Computing, Asset Management, and
Emerging Technology for Design and Construction. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. from Carnegie
Mellon University, and her B.S.E. from Duke University.

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The authors, professors in civil engineering, teach multiple sections of an introduction to engineering course. The course has general student learning outcomes that apply to multiple areas of engineering (e.g., civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, etc.) that were developed by consensus of the engineering departments at the institution. In addition to these general student learning outcomes, discipline-specific student learning outcomes are incorporated into individual sections of the course. These outcomes are developed by the individual faculty member teaching the section and are related to his/her disciplinary expertise. The sections that serve as the foundation for the work presented in this paper have student learning outcomes associated with civil engineering and specifically with urban infrastructure and geotechnical engineering.

Because of the general nature of most introduction to engineering courses, comparison of assessment outcomes across different course sections can be difficult, and that difficulty can hinder productive discussions across disciplines and the development of recommendations for course improvements. The authors have used a simple concept map assignment, given on the first and last day of each course, to evaluate student learning outcomes, and as a basis for analysis of multiple sections of the course within civil engineering and the development of recommendations for course improvements in that area. The work presented in this paper is anticipated to serve as the foundation for a future project assessing sections of the course across multiple engineering areas.

Roth, M., & Sanford Bernhardt, K. L. (2016, June), Using Concept Maps for Assessment and Improvement of a Multi-Section Introduction to Engineering Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27139

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