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Enhancing the student learning environment Robert Garrick, Ph.D., P.E. – Rochester Institute of Technology Elizabeth Dell - Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Presentation on theme: "Enhancing the student learning environment Robert Garrick, Ph.D., P.E. – Rochester Institute of Technology Elizabeth Dell - Rochester Institute of Technology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Enhancing the student learning environment Robert Garrick, Ph.D., P.E. – Rochester Institute of Technology Elizabeth Dell - Rochester Institute of Technology Larry Villasmil, Ph.D. – Rochester Institute of Technology Robert P. Lillis – Evalumetrics Research TABLET PCS - DIGITAL PEN-BASED TECHNOLOGY USE AND THE IMPACT ON EDUCATING ENGINEERS 1

2 Contents Problem Statement Education Research – What has been Done Instructional and Technology Domain Methodology Blended Experiment Design, Why Examples Findings Next Steps 2

3 Problem Statement Although a significant number of programs exist to attract and retain students into engineering/engineering technology programs, five year graduation rates only range from 10% to 40% of the initial entering freshman engineering cohort [1]. Compared to others, engineering programs have the longest time to completion [2]. Students that leave an engineering program are seldom replaced [3]. The majority of the attrition occurs during the first three years [4]. A primary cause of the high attrition rates in engineering/engineering technology programs is the perception that the learning environment is often un-motivating and unwelcoming. [5] 3 1. (Maura J. Borrego, Miguel A. Padilla, Guili Zhang, Consortium for Student Data Exchange). 2. (Fortenberry, et. al., 2007; Ohland, et.al.,2008; Seymour and Hewitt, 1997) 3. (Ohland et. al., 2008). 4. (Borrego, Padilla). 5. (Bergval, Sorby, and Worthen, 1994; Busch-Vishniac and Jarosz, 2004; Harris, et. al., 2004; Salter and Persaud, 2003; Sax, 1994; Vogt, Hocevar, and Hagedorn, 2007).

4 Solutions – What has been Done 1.(Karl A. Smith & Goldstein, 1982; Karl A. Smith, Johnson, & Johnson, 1981; Felder, 1995; Johnson, Johnson, & Smith, 1991, 1998, 2007; MacGregor, Cooper, Smith, & Robinson, 2000; Millis & Cottell, 1997; Prince, 2004; K.A. Smith, Cox, & Douglas, 2009; Karl A. Smith, Sheppard, Johnson, & Johnson, 2005; Terenzini, Cabrera, Colbeck, Parente, & Bjorklund, 2001) 2.(Hake, 1998). 3.(Crouch, 2001) 4 Creating an engaging and cooperative learning environment has been a key issue in engineering education for many decades [1]. A seminal and comprehensive study [2] found a substantial improvement in conceptual understanding of physics principles through interactive engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities which yield immediate feedback. Key elements of interactive engagement include [3]: a) cooperative learning activities b) group problem solving.

5 A Local Pilot Study (Pilot #1 study) 5 The Pilot #1 study established [1]: a) students who had a lower GPA entering the class (GPA >2.0, but <3.0) experienced the most significant increase in test scores in the class. b) The class involved in Pilot #1 study was a late freshman/early sophomore engineering introductory class that had traditionally a high (>15%) rate of withdrawals, and D or F grades. Over the three year pilot #1 study, the withdrawal, D and F grades rate fell below 10%. (Parthum, 2009). Solutions – What has been Done 1.(Parthum, 2009)

6 A Typical Introductory Eng/ET Course The Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems course is offered at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to second year students. The course has had a high rate of low grades and withdrawals averaging 22.8% over the last ten times it was taught 6 Solutions – A Diagnostic

7 Solutions A previous study (Pilot study #1) within the RIT department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Technology (MMET) demonstrated that Tablet PC based lectures helped students who had lower GPAs [1]. A Tablet PC lecture environment has also been reported to increase student interest and involvement [2]. 7 A Technology Rich Learning environment 1.(Parthum, 2009) 2.(Berque, Johnson, & Jovanovic, 2001; Birmingham, DiStasi, & Welton, 2009; Chidanandan et al., 2007; Chidanandan et al., 2008; Johri & Lohani, 2008; Lohani, Castles, Johri, Spangler, & Kibler, 2008; Sneller, 2007; Stanton, 2008).

8 Conceptual Framework of selecting the technology tools to enhance the learning environment Benlloch-Dualde, J.V. ; Buendía, F; Cano J.C; Supporting instructors in designing Tablet PC based courses 8 Instruction/Technology Domain

9 Benlloch-Dualde, J.V. ; Buendía, F; Cano J.C; Supporting instructors in designing Tablet PC based courses 9 What and Why actions of the Instructor Instruction/Technology Domain

10 Benlloch-Dualde, J.V. ; Buendía, F; Cano J.C; Supporting instructors in designing Tablet PC based courses 10 Tablet PC specific Instruction/Technology Domain

11 Activities to Engage Students – Delivering Course Content … Multiple screens and display hardware. – Gathering Content feedback… Polls, group/individual practice. – Course Laboratory Practice… Using Tablet/Collaborative software environment. – Course Review Session Competition… Team environment 11 Blended Experiment Design Methodology

12 PREVIOUS SLIDE CURRENT SLIDE AUXILIARY SCREEN VIDEOS / SUPPORT MATERIAL 12 Delivering Course Content – Multi-display Features Methodology – Examples

13 13 Gathering Content Feedback – Polls, group/individual practice Methodology – Examples

14 How do I connect this circuit? (use a different color for each line) Course Laboratory Practice – Using Tablet/Collaborative software environment Methodology – Examples

15 Competition Structure: Two teams of students (Red team – Blue team) Three subgroups per team (six total groups) Six “rounds” of competition (timed) Three problems per round (one problem per group) Results: Students exposed to 18 different problems for review in one class period Students electronic notebooks have their solutions and those of other groups to review different approaches along with instructor solutions Students receive problem solving suggestions from team members Instructor able to monitor progress of teams with the collaborative software monitoring feature and personalize instruction. Opportunity: Utilize Tablet / Collaborative Software environment to create a competitive team based review session Advantages: Students involved (engaged) in completing problems rather than “traditional” instructor solved problems, timely feedback on errors, peer to peer mentoring with group work, ability to solve multiple problems simultaneously Blue TeamRed Team Groups 1 & 4 Groups 2 & 5 Groups 3 & 6 15 Course Review Session Competition– Team environment Methodology – Examples

16 Study PeriodClass# of StudentsExperimental design Evaluation Method Fall 2009Pneumatics and Hydraulics 25Computer lab vs. TLT studio Post Survey and focus group Fall 2010Pneumatics and Hydraulics 75Computer lab vs. TLT studio Post Survey and focus group Fall 2010Dynamics Recitation 80TLT studio (2 classes) – Standard room 2 classes) Post Survey and focus group Fall 2010Thermo-Fluids25TLT StudioPost Survey and focus group Spring 2011Applied Fluid Dynamics 25TLT StudioPost Survey and focus group 16 Pilot Study #2 - ~ 230 students Findings - Scope

17 17 ~ Even distribution among 2 nd, 3 rd and 4 th /5 th year students ~ Normal distribution of entering GPAs All full time students. Most students between 18 and 22 years old with 3.7% above 23. During Lectures: 83% reported usually taking notes using a pen/pencil and notebook. 8% reported usually taking notes using a laptop /desktop computer. 14% reported usually not taking notes during lectures Student Demographics Findings - Scope

18 18 14% of the students preferred the traditional/standard lecture learning environment. Students preferred the following alternative lecture environment features: ( % of preferred/strongly preferred) Instructor’s notes directly over the presented PowerPoint during lecture (81%) Animations or videos incorporated into the PowerPoint lecture (78%) Group problem solving work (74%) Example problems completed by the instructor (72%) Tablets, collaboration software and multi-screen projection (71%) Real time integration of lecture and student’s personal notes (68%) These preferences for the lecture environment features were consistent over the academic year but such preferences increased with student academic year. Pilot #2 Results Findings

19 19 Students responded that they were more likely to take notes in the technology rich lecture environment particularly third, fourth or fifth year students including students with the lowest GPA entering the class. Students reported that they were more likely to use these notes for both homework and pre-test reviews primarily the students with the lowest GPA who reported improved comprehension of the material. Pilot #2 Results Findings Students preferred solving problems in class using the technology rich environment. Students overwhelmingly agreed that working virtually in groups was an effective method to do in-class problem solving. The ability to make corrections seeing them immediately and the ability to watch the process were the most common positive comments. Recalling Hake, “interactive engagement” is “designed in part to promote conceptual understanding through engagement of students in heads-on (always) and hands-on (usually) activities which yield immediate feedback through discussion with peers and/or instructors” (p 65) (Hake, 1998).

20 The focus group facilitator asked questions about the use of the tablet PCs, group work, note taking, preparation for tests and overall learning. An independent evaluator reviewed video recordings of the focus groups and scored each student remark as positive or negative in one of several categories. 20 Pilot #2 Results – Focus Group Findings

21 Overall, the students recommended using the technology rich lecture environment. Students with a lower entering GPA perceived a greater benefit from this learning environment. Results appear in agreement with those found in the seminal work of Hake and others that an interactive and engaging learning environment can result in improved student learning of the material. A technology rich environment allows the instructor to implement an interactive and engaging learning environment using digital media, Tablet PCs and collaborative software. A technology rich environment also increases student likelihood of note taking and using these notes (especially for the attrition vulnerable population with lower GPAs). 21 Main Conclusions Findings

22 Next Steps Continue our studies of this environment with focus on: Students with a lower entering GPA Rochester Institute of Technology’s Deaf and hard of hearing students Ability to see note-taker’s notes live 3 screen display Ability to play-back pen-stroke by pen-stroke each slide Underrepresented groups Anonymity of technology rich environment Work with others external to Rochester Institute of Technology to support rigorous engineering/STEM education research grant opportunities 22


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