Asee peer logo

What’s Muddy vs. What’s Surprising? Comparing Student Reflections about Class

Download Paper |

Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Motivation and Faculty Development

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

26.1731.1 - 26.1731.14

DOI

10.18260/p.25067

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/25067

Download Count

273

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Jessie Keeler Oregon State University

visit author page

Jessie Keeler is a graduate student in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering
at Oregon State University. She received her B.E. from the Youngstown State University in chemical engineering
and is pursuing her M.S. also in chemical engineering with an emphasis on engineering education.

visit author page

biography

Bill Jay Brooks Oregon State University

visit author page

Bill Brooks is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. As an undergraduate he studied hardware, software, and chemical engineering. He ultimately received his Ph.D. from Oregon State University in Chemical Engineering. He is currently interested in the development of technology to study and promote STEM learning.

visit author page

biography

Debra May Friedrichsen Unaffiliated

visit author page

Debra Gilbuena has an M.BA, an M.S, and four years of industrial experience including a position in sensor development. Sensor development is also an area in which she holds a patent. She has engineering education research focused on student learning in virtual laboratories and the diffusion of educational interventions and practices.

visit author page

biography

Jeffrey A Nason Oregon State University

visit author page

Jeff Nason is an associate professor of environmental engineering and associate school head for research and graduate training in the School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University. His research and teaching are primarily in the areas of physical/chemical processes for water quality control and aquatic chemistry. In the classroom, he facilitates conceptual learning and frequent formative feedback using the AIChE Concept Warehouse and promotes formal cooperative learning through the use of studio based instruction in high enrollment classes.

visit author page

biography

Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

visit author page

Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

What’s Muddy vs. What’s Surprising? Comparing Student Reflections about ClassPromoting students to be more reflective about their learning experiences allows them to developrobust learning strategies and develops the metacognitive skills that are a characteristic ofexpertise. It can also provide instructors formative information about students conceptions ofcourse content. We use the definition that reflection is the act of “exploring the meaning ofexperiences and the consequences of the meanings for future action.”A simple reflection activity commonly used in class is a Muddiest Point exit question, “Whatwas the muddiest point in class this week?” In this activity, the instructor asks students to write abrief, anonymous written comment describing the concept or topic that they found to be the mostdifficult to understand during class. In this study, we use a quasi-experimental design toempirically investigate students’ in-class responses to two end of in-class activities wherestudents were asked to reflect on the class over the last week. One recitation section is providedthe more common Muddiest Point exit question. The alternate section is provided the MostSurprised exit question, “What surprised you most about class this week?” In this qualitativestudy, we ask the research question, “How do the student reflection responses differ based on thetype of exit question asked?”Participants were enrolled in a required, core sophomore-level, undergraduate Material Balancesengineering course at a large public university. The students from each cohort attended acommon lecture and self-selected into one of two weekly, one-hour recitations (labeledRecitation 1 and Recitation 2). The lectures and recitations for both cohorts were taught by thesame instructor. For each cohort the second recitation (Recitation 2) was scheduled immediatelyafter the first (Recitation 1) and held in the same room. A cross-over design was used where therecitations sections alternated between exit question. Data were collected on mobile devicesthrough an online system. The Institutional Review Board approved the research and participantssigned informed consent forms.Content analysis was performed in two ways. Each week’s responses were compared bycompiling word clouds of the responses. Two weeks’ sets of responses were then coded in moredetail where the word clouds differed the most. For this analysis, we also selected sets whereeach section answered one Muddiest Point and one Most Surprised. An emergent coding methodwas used where sets of codes were identified based on the written content in the reflections. Boththe week’s technical content and epistemological frames are evident. Our hypothesis is thedifferent reflection prompts will elicit different types of thinking about the class, but that bothwill provide the learners and the instructor productive information. By understanding thedifferences in how students answer these reflective exit questions, instructors can moreintentionally select appropriately.

Keeler, J., & Brooks, B. J., & Friedrichsen, D. M., & Nason, J. A., & Koretsky, M. (2015, June), What’s Muddy vs. What’s Surprising? Comparing Student Reflections about Class Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.25067

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015