June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
NSF Grantees Poster Session
26.1684.1 - 26.1684.9
Using Students-Generated Concept Maps to Assess Students’ Conceptual Understanding in a Foundational Engineering CourseThis paper reports the results of an engineering education project funded by the NSF TUES-Type1 program. One primary goal of the project is to improve student conceptual understanding andcomprehension in a foundational yet difficult undergraduate engineering course – EngineeringDynamics (ED).Nearly all students in mechanical, aerospace, civil, biological, and biomedical engineeringprograms are required to take this course. The course covers a broad spectrum of foundationalconcepts, such as displacement, velocity, acceleration, force, work, energy, impulse, momentum,and vibration. Nonetheless, ED is widely regarded as one of the most difficult courses tosucceed in. In a recent survey, students were asked about their perspectives about ED. Morethan 60% of the students surveyed used phrases, such as “much harder than Statics,” “extremelydifficult,” “very challenging,” and “are afraid of it.” Students often drop out of engineeringbecause they fail this course – the last pre-professional gateway course before entering aprofessional engineering program.Research has shown that conceptual understanding plays a critical role in students’ problem-solving performance. Assessing conceptual understanding is important in order to design themost appropriate pedagogy to improve students’ problem-solving performance. Theconventional way to assess conceptual understanding is to conduct assessment tests (such as theConcept Inventory Test) and/or interviews. In this study, conceptual understanding wereassessed through students-generated concept maps. Guided by active learning andconstructivism theories, students developed their own concept maps after they had learned anengineering dynamics theme (i.e., a chapter in a dynamics textbook). Students-generatedconcept maps were closely examined. This paper presents representative concept mapsgenerated by students who took dynamics in a recent semester. The results show that students-generated concept maps provide a significant amount of information on their understandingand/or misunderstandings of relevant concepts and can be used as a supplemental tool to assessconceptual understanding in this foundational engineering course.
Fang, N. (2015, June), Using Students-Generated Concept Maps to Assess Students’ Conceptual Understanding in a Foundational Engineering Course Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25020
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