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Utilization Of Active Collaborative Learning In Three Electrical Engineering Courses

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.1128.1 - 6.1128.9



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Paper Authors

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Rosalyn Hobson

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Esther Hughes

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

Session 1432

Utilization of Active Collaborative Learning in Three Electrical Engineering Courses

Rosalyn S. Hobson, Esther A. Hughes Virginia Commonwealth University


Educational research has shown that students learn and retain information better when the educational process includes active cooperative learning. As a result the face of the engineering classroom is changing to include more in-class and team activities allowing the students to take a more active role in their educational process. The use of teams not only enhances the students’ learning, but also provides them with valuable training that they will use in their future occupations. The authors of this paper survey three engineering courses in which they have introduced various active cooperative learning activities. The three courses presented are: Introduction to Engineering, Microcomputer Systems, and Automatic Controls.

Each course is described including course objectives, syllabus, and grading policies. For each course examples are given of the assignments, in-class activities, laboratory assignments, and projects in which teams are used. The attitudes of the students during the course and student evaluations of the activities as well as the course are presented. The challenges and contrasts between using teams in a freshman course (Introduction to Engineering) and upper level courses are also discussed. Finally the instructors give an assessment and evaluation of the courses and specifically address the active collaborative activities.


Industry has made it clear to engineering programs that they want graduates who not only have excellent technical skills, but these new engineers must also have teamwork, communication, negotiation, and conflict resolution skills. Productivity in industry is not just a function of how well an individual can solve a technical problem, but how an individual can work together in a group to accomplish a complex task. As a result engineering educators today are finding it necessary to teach students not only the technical fundamentals of engineering, but also a host of other skills to ensure success in the work place1. One method engineering instructors are using to teach students the skills they need for the work force is active collaborative or cooperative learning.

In an active learning classroom students take an active role in processing the course material. Students solve problems, answer questions, formulate questions of their own, discuss, explain,

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Hobson, R., & Hughes, E. (2001, June), Utilization Of Active Collaborative Learning In Three Electrical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9988

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