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Using Videos to Elicit Self-Explanations of Emergent Electromagnetic Concepts

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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

Electromagnetics & Power Education

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

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Paper Authors


Alan Cheville Bucknell University

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Alan Cheville studied optoelectronics and ultrafast optics at Rice University, followed by 14 years as a faculty member at Oklahoma State University working on terahertz frequencies and engineering education. While at Oklahoma State, he developed courses in photonics and engineering design. After serving for two and a half years as a program director in engineering education at the National Science Foundation, he took a chair position in electrical engineering at Bucknell University. He is currently interested in engineering design education, engineering education policy, and the philosophy of engineering education.

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Brianna Healey Derr Bucknell University

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Brianna is an Instructional Technologist specializing in Video at Bucknell University located in Lewisburg, Pa. She received her certificate in Digital Storytelling in the Spring of 2014 from the University of Colorado Denver in partnership with The Center for Digital Storytelling now called StoryCenter. She partners with faculty to integrate multimodal storytelling into the curriculum and to aid in the discovery of new innovative ways to educate.

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It is well documented that students have more difficulty comprehending and mastering emergent schemas in comparison to direct-causal schemas or concepts. Compared to some other disciplines, electrical engineering tends to have many emergent concepts, particularly in electromagnetics where most phenomena are not directly observable by humans and many observed behaviors arise from spatially distributed charge and field distributions. One method that has been shown to help students understand emergent concepts is to elicit self-explanations of these concepts. This paper reports on the use of student-produced videos for self-explanation of concepts in a required junior electromagnetics class. As part of a requisite fourth hour meeting each week students produced two videos one year and three videos a second year that explained a basic concept in electromagnetics. Each video was to incorporate at least four different representations—images, formulas, examples, etc.—to help students explore the concept in multiple ways. Prior work in mathematics education has shown learning improves when concepts are expressed in more than one representation. Over the two-year period in which this experiment was run the course instructors made several improvements to the way videos were integrated into the course including: training in video-production techniques including editing, use of a sound booth, stop-motion, and a “green screen”; developing a three step iterative process for videos based on story boards; and changing how concepts were identified. In the first year students selected from a list of relevant concepts identified by the instructor, in the second year concepts were represented by mathematical formulas drawn directly from the textbook. During both years the videos were scored using rubrics on both accuracy of conceptual understanding and production values, and were also peer-evaluated. Comparisons of video scores to performance on standard exams and the results of concept inventories are presented. We also reflect on the value of videos for self-explanation and for engaging with conceptually difficult material. Example student videos will be used to illustrate both correct and incorrect conceptual explanations.

Cheville, A., & Derr, B. H. (2016, June), Using Videos to Elicit Self-Explanations of Emergent Electromagnetic Concepts Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27172

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