June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
This Complete Evidence-Based Practice paper describes the implementation of visibly random grouping in sections of a first-year, first-semester engineering course. Visibly random grouping is a technique found in the mathematics education literature  that has been shown to have a variety of benefits, including improved teamworking skills, elimination of social barriers, greater sharing of knowledge between students, elevated engagement and enthusiasm, and decreased reliance on teachers for validation. Instructors in a first-year engineering program implemented forms of visibly random grouping in their first-semester courses. This work describes the commonalities between visibly random grouping as described in the literature and the variations of it that were implemented by the different instructors. The new grouping structure is also contrasted with methods for grouping students used in previous offerings of the course. At the end of the semester, students, teaching assistants, and instructors were asked to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of the visibly random grouping technique and any impact they perceived it had on the student experience. Additionally, the students anonymously responded to journal questions regarding social connections in the course. Since students in previous offerings of the course have answered the same questions the responses with and without visibly random grouping were compared. A qualitative analysis of all of these data have led to a description of the experience from the perspectives of instructors, teaching assistants, and students. Further, connections have been drawn between the variations in the implementation of visibly random grouping and the effects reported.
 Liljedahl, P., “The affordances of using visually random groups in a mathematics classroom,” in Transforming Mathematics Instruction: Multiple Approaches and Practices, Y. Li, E. Silver, & S. Li, Eds. New York, NY: Springer, in press.
Harper, K. A., & Freuler, R. J. (2019, June), Visibly Random Grouping Applied to First-Semester Engineering Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33538
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