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Writing Good Reflection Questions: Testing Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaires' Effectiveness in Improving Student Learning

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

New Engineering Educators 2: Success In and Out of the Classroom

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New Engineering Educators

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Elizabeth Payne Tofte South Dakota State University

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Education: PhD, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. I am currently an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture for the School of Design at South Dakota State University, specializing in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in interdisciplinary learning environments.

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Albena Yuliyanova Yordanova South Dakota State University

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Education: University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Doctor of Technology with emphasis in Sustainable Design & Construction (2016); University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri; Master of Arts in Architectural Studies (2005); Institute of Architecture and Civil Engineering, Sofia, Bulgaria; Professional Diploma in Architecture (1991).

Teaching Experience: Senior Lecturer, South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, College of Engineering, Construction Management Program (2010-present)

Interests: Sustainable Building Design and Construction Materials; Engineering Education Pedagody

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Writing Good Reflection Questions: Testing Brookfield’s critical incident questionnaires effectiveness in improving student learning Work-in-Progress (WIP) Motivation: It can be a challenge for instructors to design critical reflections that engage their students in deeper thinking, self-evaluation or enhance learning experiences. Since 2007, Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaire (CIQ) has been used successfully to gather reflective feedback from students. Reflections focus on learning moments when students feel especially engaged or dis-engaged, surprised or puzzled. Literature, reviewed prior to this study, indicated that little pedagogical research has been conducted to test the CIQ in undergraduate online engineering design courses. This study was designed to test the efficacy of the CIQ on a 5-week long online Sustainable Building Systems course. Problem Statement: How will students respond to the CIQ? Will students provide comments of value to the instructor? Will deployment of CIQ foster sense of community and improve learning experience for students in online asynchronous environment? Approach: The CIQ was offered as an integrated part of a five-week long online course, offered to students from three majors. Students completed the CIQ each Friday. Qualitative data was gathered online. The instructor coded student responses using key words and phrases. Results: 11 out of 15 students responded to the CIQ. Comments provided the instructor with valuable insights into students’ success and frustrations. The instructor reported she had a better understanding of her students’ challenges. Students reported that the questionnaires fostered their perception of belonging to a learning community. Conclusion: The CIQ functioned as a comprehensive reflection instrument. Further testing needs to be done in design engineering courses and slight modifications may be made to adapt the questions to the reinforce the interaction among students and with the instructor in a online course. Limitations included the fact that the class was only five weeks long. Class size was relatively small. Future research needs to be conducted using full semester courses.

Tofte, E. P., & Yordanova, A. Y. (2020, June), Writing Good Reflection Questions: Testing Brookfield’s Critical Incident Questionnaires' Effectiveness in Improving Student Learning Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35712

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