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Work in Progress: Rigorously Assessing the Anecdotal Evidence of Increased Student Persistence in an Active, Blended, and Collaborative Mechanical Engineering Environment

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Works in Progress: Assessment and Research Tools

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

8

DOI

10.18260/p.27032

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27032

Download Count

67

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Paper Authors

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Jennifer DeBoer Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Jennifer DeBoer is currently Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses on international education systems, individual and social development, technology use and STEM learning, and educational environments for diverse learners.

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Nick Stites Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Nick Stites is pursuing a PhD in Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include the development of novel pedagogical methods to teach core engineering courses and leveraging technology to enhance learning experiences. Nick holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering and has eight years of engineering experience. He also has four years of experience as an adjunct instructor at the community-college and research-university level.

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Edward J. Berger Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Edward Berger is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, joining Purdue in August 2014. He has been teaching mechanics for nearly 20 years, and has worked extensively on the integration and assessment of specific technology interventions in mechanics classes. He was one of the co-leaders in 2013-2014 of the ASEE Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) for mechanics educators across the country.

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Jeffrey F. Rhoads Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Jeffrey F. (Jeff) Rhoads is an Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and is affiliated with both the Birck Nanotechnology Center and Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at the same institution. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees, each in mechanical engineering, from Michigan State University in 2002, 2004, and 2007, respectively. Dr. Rhoads’ current research interests include the predictive design, analysis, and implementation of resonant micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (MEMS/NEMS) for use in chemical and biological sensing, electromechanical signal processing, and computing; the dynamics of parametrically-excited systems and coupled oscillators; the behavior of electromechanical and thermomechanical systems, including energetic materials, operating in rich, multi-physics environments; and mechanics education. Dr. Rhoads is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), where he serves on the Design, Materials and Manufacturing Segment Leadership Team and the Design Engineering Division’s Technical Committees on Micro/Nanosystems and Vibration and Sound. Dr. Rhoads is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering’s Harry L. Solberg Best Teacher Award (twice), and the ASEE Mechanics Division’s Ferdinand P. Beer and E. Russell Johnston, Jr. Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award. In 2014, Dr. Rhoads was selected as the inaugural recipient of the ASME C. D. Mote Jr., Early Career Award and was featured in ASEE Prism Magazine’s 20 Under 40.

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Charles Morton Krousgrill Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Charles M. Krousgrill is a Professor in the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University and is affiliated with the Ray W. Herrick Laboratories at the same institution. He received his B.S.M.E. from Purdue University and received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Applied Mechanics from Caltech. Dr. Krousgrill’s current research interests include the vibration, nonlinear dynamics, friction-induced oscillations, gear rattle vibrations, dynamics of clutch and brake systems and damage detection in rotor systems. Dr. Krousgrill is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE). He has received the H.L. Solberg Teaching Award (Purdue ME) seven times, A.A. Potter Teaching Award (Purdue Engineering) three times, the Charles B. Murphy Teaching Award (Purdue University), Purdue’s Help Students Learn Award, the Special Boilermaker Award (given here for contributions to undergraduate education) and is the 2011 recipient of the ASEE Mechanics Division’s Archie Higdon Distinguished Educator Award.

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David B. Nelson Purdue University, West Lafayette

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David B. Nelson is Associate Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. He received his Ph.D in World History from the University of California, Irvine in 2008

David has been involved in many educational research projects at Purdue, including published worked in the programming education, student engagement and academic performance in dynamics engineering courses, and educational modalities in engineering, technology and economics..

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Craig Zywicki Purdue University

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Craig is a Assessment & Data Analyst in the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Effectiveness at Purdue University.

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David A. Evenhouse Purdue University

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David Evenhouse is a Graduate Student and Research Assistant in the Purdue School of Engineering Education. He graduated from Calvin College in the Spring of 2015 with a B.S.E. concentrating in Mechanical Engineering. Experiences during his undergraduate years included a semester in Spain, taking classes at the Universidad de Oviedo and the Escuela Politécnica de Ingenieria de Gijón, as well as multiple internships in Manufacturing and Quality Engineering. His current work primarily investigates the effects of select emergent pedagogies upon student and instructor performance and experience at the collegiate level. Other interests include engineering ethics, engineering philosophy, and the intersecting concerns of engineering industry and higher academia.

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Abstract

This work in progress describes an ongoing study of an active, blended, and collaborative (ABC) course environment used in a core mechanical engineering course. This course has built on the growing body of literature citing active learning (Freeman et al., 2014), blended structures (Bowen & Ithaka, 2012), and collaborative engagement (Jeong & Chi, 2007) as positive influences on college and university science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) outcomes. For the last six years, “Dynamics”, a core mechanical engineering course at a large public university, has utilized in-class activities, frequently-watched problem-solving videos, and a collaborative blog space to realize an ABC environment.

On one key metric of course success, the rate of students who drop, fail, or withdraw from (DFW), the course has experienced near-constant improvements since the ABC structures were introduced. In this study, the authors utilize rigorous longitudinal methods to determine whether this drop in DFW rates can be directly attributed to increased implementation of ABC features. The authors hypothesize that as instructors become accustomed to the ABC environment and increase the level of in-class activity, use of blended resources, and collaboration, the likelihood of DFW in each subsequent year would drop. However, in the same time period, each subsequent class entered with higher levels of performance on proxy measures for prior knowledge.

We therefore build a logistic regression model to predict individual-level DFW and determine whether the anecdotal drops in DFW that we observe can be attributed to the expansion of the ABC environment. More specifically, we predict likelihood of DFW based on students’ prior knowledge (grade in the preceding course, SAT math score), key demographics (gender, race/ethnicity), the semester and year they took Dynamics, their instructor, their year in school, and their major. We test for year fixed effects {year_t, t = 1, 2, ..., 7} to determine whether odds ratios for DFW consistently and significantly decrease over time. We also test for instructor effects, in particular for differences between the instructors who were involved in the design and development of the ABC environment and more independent instructors who only partially implemented the ABC course components. We anticipate results that will provide more rigorous, less biased, and efficient estimates for the individual- and class-level components that explain variance in DFW rates. These results would provide immediate implications for the next phase of our work, as we assess the next on-term implementation of the course in 2016. Our findings would also have long-term significance for other classes in mechanical engineering and related disciplines and for classes at other institutions that are considering implementing a comprehensive ABC learning environment.

DeBoer, J., & Stites, N., & Berger, E. J., & Rhoads, J. F., & Krousgrill, C. M., & Nelson, D. B., & Zywicki, C., & Evenhouse, D. A. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Rigorously Assessing the Anecdotal Evidence of Increased Student Persistence in an Active, Blended, and Collaborative Mechanical Engineering Environment Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27032

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