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Virtual Service-Learning Tutoring Experience for Engineering Undergraduates

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Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference



Publication Date

April 9, 2021

Start Date

April 9, 2021

End Date

April 10, 2021

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Suzanne Keilson Loyola University Maryland

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Suzanne Keilson is a faculty member at Loyola University Maryland. Her background and degrees are in Applied Physics and her research interests include signal processing, biomedical and materials engineering, design and STEM education. She has served in administrative positions and has taught for the past twenty years, including in special cross-disciplinary first year programs. She is a frequent presenter at a variety of conferences and venues, is an active member of ASEE, the Mid-Atlantic section as well as ASME and IEEE.

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In the fall semester 2020 a service-learning option was provided to students enrolled in a probability and statistics class that is required of all engineering majors. The instructor had previously participated in service-learning seminars for faculty at the university who were interested in learning and using that pedagogy in their classes. This paper reviews the seminar program, the background of the particular community partner, the nature of the service-learning experience and the qualitative reflections of the students who participated in the on-line service experience. Half the class chose the service option and half chose to program a simulation. The programming project was to simulate the so-called “Monty Hall Problem” and compare theoretical results utilizing conditional probability and simulated results as to the best strategy for that game. The service-learning option involved tutoring middle school and high school students in math, responding to four writing prompts or reflections, and a project. The project entailed the undergraduates creating their own lesson and activity about probability and statistics which was presented to the entire tutoring community. They created a game show format. Each tutor first presented a brief lesson about a statistics topic such as combinations, dice, cards and other topics typical early on in a probability course. The reason these counting topics are important is often obscure and the amount of time devoted to them in class is often limited. The undergraduate tutors created a game board quiz with categories drawn from the brief lessons they offered immediately prior to the game. The middle and high school students put their answers in the virtual chat under a time constraint. Every correct answer by every student was awarded a point and the student with the highest total won a small prize. The class enrollment was small and all conclusions about this experience are qualitative. The community partner was very pleased with the experience as was the instructor and the students who participated. It is anticipated that it will be repeated in the fall of 2021, perhaps in an in-person format. The learning objectives for the course as well as the community needs, which are especially high for math tutoring, were at least partially met. The undergraduate students who participated in the service-learning option gained perspective on their own mathematical thinking and learning. Those students who preferred to have the programming experience also had their needs met. In conclusion, service-learning as an option is an attractive pedagogical tool to put into the mix of one’s courses.

Keilson, S. (2021, April), Virtual Service-Learning Tutoring Experience for Engineering Undergraduates Paper presented at Middle Atlantic ASEE Section Spring 2021 Conference, Virtual . 10.18260/1-2--36330

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