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Work in Progress: Creative Projects Supplementing Exams so Students Can Better Demonstrate Their Understanding

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Learning Outcomes and Assessment Within Chemical Engineering

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Lucas James Landherr Northeastern University

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Dr. Lucas Landherr is a senior teaching professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University, conducting research in comics and engineering education.

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In response to a transition to remote and hybrid learning from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an environment with generally higher levels of stress that can cause students difficulty to prove their knowledge and ability, many instructors have tried to find ways of changing their means of evaluating student performance and understanding. Some methods have included weekly quizzes as opposed to larger exams, oral discussion exams instead of written tests, and replacing exams with larger projects. The efforts being made to broaden potential approaches to evaluation may have short-term benefits to provide workable assessment tools for the current environment, but will also provide insight into the effectiveness of each approach to be considered when regular in-person instruction begins again.

At Northeastern University in a fluid mechanics course, students were assigned a short project in addition to each exam, with each project due date being within a week of its respective exam. The project allowed students the opportunity to present their conceptual understanding and knowledge in a creative format, being able to make a comic, video, or simulation addressing concepts from that part of the course. The projects provided a means for students to either reiterate their grasp on the course concepts in either a follow-up or lead-in to their performance on the exam, or to better show their understanding in a different, less-stressful, more open format in potential response to their previous performance. The introduction of the projects also served to reduce the number of exams in the semester, and could be completed remotely.

This Work-In-Progress paper will discuss the efforts to implement this project in a remote/hybrid instruction fall semester, including comparison between student performance on the exams and projects, and feedback from students.

Landherr, L. J. (2021, July), Work in Progress: Creative Projects Supplementing Exams so Students Can Better Demonstrate Their Understanding Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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