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Using The Dynamics Concepts Inventory As A Continuous Process Improvement Metric For Improving Student Learning Outcomes

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Teaching Dynamics

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Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1342.1 - 15.1342.19



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Paper Authors

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J. Shelley United States Air Force

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Using the Dynamics Concepts Inventory as a Continuous Process Improvement Metric for Improving Student Learning Outcomes

Abstract Having objective metrics to assess student assimilation of the concepts on which the study of Dynamics is based makes it possible to implement Continuous Process Improvement on the teaching of this junior-level dynamics class. Over seven semesters, the Dynamics Concepts Inventory was used as a pre- and post-course assessment of student conceptual understanding in a Dynamics class taught through live interactive broadcast from a remote location. Self-assessment through DCI scores, a self-developed questionnaire, and student assessments have led to changes in lecture style, textbook, and in-class concept demonstrations. However, only small improvements in average DCI scores have occurred. A reduction in the number of unanswered questions from the pre- to post-course Inventories indicates that students feel more confident in their knowledge of dynamics concepts, even if the average score improvement pre- to post- is only two correct responses out of a total of 29 questions on the Inventory. Having the DCI pre- course assessment has enabled troubleshooting of bimodal grade distributions in classes with poorly prepared students. Employing the DCI as a CPI tool has created an environment in which distractions from the dynamics material, like the broadcast environment and textbook selection, can be minimized while effective demonstrations and class discussions can be developed. This paper discusses the results of employing the DCI as a CPI tool along with changes made to curriculum delivery. The next increment of changes to content delivery is also discussed.

Introduction Continuous Process Improvement, CPI, is an established industry practice with the goals of reducing variability in a product, eliminating non-value added steps from processes, and improving customer satisfaction. CPI is one of the results of application of statistical process control, which originated in Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1924 by Dr. Walter Shewhart1. ABET evaluation criteria espoused application of continuous improvement philosophies to Engineering Education with the Engineering Criteria 2000 published in 19962 and continue to propagate the application with the current standards3. The practice has become so ingrained in American industry that in May 2006, all US Department of Defense (DoD) activities were required to implement CPI and the Continuous Process Improvement Transformation Guidebook was published4. The personnel conducting this study were trained in CPI through DoD activities and brought that experience into the educational community from industry. Maguad describes a customer-oriented business model for universities that identifies the industry that hires graduates as the customer and students as the product5. Adopting this model is necessary to allow the application of CPI to a university activity. In the current environment where basic engineering skills and education are commodities6, universities, like competitive industries, must be efficient in creating a product their customer finds valuable. In the case of engineering education, the processes of developing basic skills in students must be efficient for the program to remain

Shelley, J. (2010, June), Using The Dynamics Concepts Inventory As A Continuous Process Improvement Metric For Improving Student Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16154

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