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Work in Progress: Designing Modeling-based Learning Experiences Within a Capstone Engineering Course

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 17: Student Cognitive Development

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Joseph A. Lyon Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Joseph A. Lyon is a Ph.D. student in the School of Engineering Education and a M.S. student in the School of Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. He earned a B.S. in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Purdue University. His research interests include models and modeling, computational thinking, and computation in engineering education.

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Alejandra J. Magana Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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Alejandra Magana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology and an affiliated faculty at the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a B.E. in Information Systems, a M.S. in Technology, both from Tec de Monterrey; and a M.S. in Educational Technology and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University. Her research is focused on identifying how model-based cognition in STEM can be better supported by means of expert technological and computing tools such as cyber-physical systems,visualizations and modeling and simulation tools.

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Martin R. Okos Purdue University, West Lafayette

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This work in progress research paper overviews a designed intervention to incorporate computational modeling into the engineering classroom, as well as student experiences within the designed intervention. In modern society, computation is an increasingly prevalent part of every industry. Considering this, a workforce capable of using computation to solve complex problems is needed across industries. Computational science and engineering (CS&E) is increasing in importance at all levels of education as national agencies call for more computation in the STEM classroom. To accomplish this task, an understanding of how to integrate computation into the classroom is needed. This paper overviews a classroom intervention designed to be used as a template for incorporating computational modeling and simulation activities within upper-division engineering classes. The study uses design-based research as a method to create a modeling-based learning experience grounded on constructivist educational theories and practices such as modeling-based learning (MbL), productive failure, and model-eliciting activities (MEA). The intervention requires students to go through four distinct activities based on MEA and MbL principles: (1) planning the model, (2) building the model, (3) evaluating the model, and (4) reflecting on the model. Additionally, the study analyzes self-reported survey data around student experiences while participating in the modeling-based learning experience. The findings of the study indicate that students appreciated aspects of the modeling-based learning experience such as the activity's applicability to real-life, hands-on nature, and understanding required for the problem. Additionally, the study looks ahead at how the intervention can be iteratively improved and implemented in multiple classes across an entire curriculum, injecting much needed computation across multiple years of an undergraduate engineering experience. Understanding student perceptions of the activity from the survey data allows for the modeling-based learning experiences's effectiveness and impact to be evaluated for future iterations of the design.

Lyon, J. A., & Magana, A. J., & Okos, M. R. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Designing Modeling-based Learning Experiences Within a Capstone Engineering Course Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33604

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