New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Although much research focuses on student anxiety during exam preparation, very little research focuses on which resources students use as they study. This work investigates which resources as well as how often they are used when students prepare for exams and work to understand difficult concepts. More specifically, we ask “which resources do students in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering courses use when working to understand difficult concepts, preparing for examinations, and completing in computer-aided design (CAD) and programming tasks?”
Two custom surveys were created to ascertain which resources students use and how often in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering at a large public institution. For an introductory Materials Science course, we created and piloted the Student Resource Value Survey (SRVS) which asks students to assess their use of seventeen resources on a scale of “0-never” to “4-always” during exam preparation and when trying to understand a difficult learning concept. We then modified the SRVS for the Biomedical Engineering (BME) setting to include questions about CAD and programming as well called the SRVS-BME. The SRVS was piloted in Spring 2014 in an introductory materials science course before each exam, including the final. The SRVS-BME is to be piloted in Fall 2015 at the mid-point and end of the semester in a variety of Biomedical Engineering courses at all grade levels. Then, we will investigate differences in how Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering students use available resources.
The SRVS revealed resources that were consistently used throughout the semester as well as identified shifts in resource use from the beginning to the end of the semester. Briefly, students consistently used notes that they took during class (90% - percentage of “3s” and “4s”), old exams and quizzes (85%), and the posted lecture slides (83%) to prepare for exams. Resources used the least to prepare for exams included textbook readings (19%), the tutoring service (14%) and online note sets (12%). Interestingly, use of particular resources for exam preparation changed over the course of the semester. More specifically, the use of homework problems decreased from 81% to 50%, the use of the teaching assistant increased from 25% to 80%, and the use of in-class Muddiest Point feedback increased form 28% to 70%.
When struggling with difficult concepts, students used similar resources as those used for test preparation (personal class notes – 87% and posted class slides – 78%); however, students also relied heavily on online search engines such as Google (65%). Unpopular resources to learn difficult concepts included the Tutoring Center (11%) as well as online vocabulary building sites (25%). The largest changes in resource use when trying to understand a difficult concept related to review sessions (36% to 72%), in-class Muddiest Point responses (44% to 70%), and custom Muddiest Point videos (53% to 70%).
As mentioned above, our future work will collect similar data from Biomedical Engineering courses. Comparison among courses in different majors will help identify universally valuable resources and assist faculty in determining which resources to develop for student success in a variety of environments.
Malkoc, A., & Krause, S. J., & Ankeny, C. J. (2016, June), Value of Student Resources in Materials Science and Biomedical Engineering Courses Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27176
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