Presentation on theme: "Nikos J. Mourtos Nikos J. Mourtos Professor & Director, Aerospace Engineering, San Jose State University, California, USA Student-Led Active Learning Workshops:"— Presentation transcript:
Nikos J. Mourtos Nikos J. Mourtos Professor & Director, Aerospace Engineering, San Jose State University, California, USA Student-Led Active Learning Workshops: Increasing Student Retention, Decreasing Time to Graduation and Providing High- Performing Students with Opportunities to Develop Coaching Skills
Background Engineer = Problem Solver Problem Solving ≠ Textbook Exercise Solving Undergraduate engineering students: Observe > 1,000 examples solved on the board Solve > 3,000 homework exercises Still lack the skills to tackle real world problems 1. Textbook exercises help bridge theory + application; help develop foundational skills Students have difficulty solving straightforward textbook exercises 1: Woods, D.R. et all, Developing problem solving skills: the McMaster problem solving program, ASEE J of Engineering Education, 86, 2, 75-91, 1997
Why? 1.No working knowledge in math + physics 2.Lack of coaching in problem solving skills 3.Inadequate time on task 1 1940’s 40 hrs / week class time + study hrs / week class time + study hrs / week studying hrs / week studying hrs / week studying 4.Lack of individual practice 1 - Arum, R. and Roksa, J., Academically Adrift, University of Chicago Press, Kindle Edition, (2011).
AL & CL in the Classroom Emphasis on problem solving Examples – solved on the board Workouts – solved by students in small groups during class Coaching students in class, while they solve problems Students solve problems on the board Credit for workouts solved correctly Poor performance on tests
Review & Retake Doesn’t work!!! ~ 5% improved their score on retake exams Does not address any of the root causes: 1. No working knowledge in math + physics 2.Lack of coaching in problem solving skills 3.Inadequate time on task 4.Lack of individual practice
Student-Led Active Learning Workshops – Fall 2011 Faculty train AE Honor Society Students (Sigma Gamma Tau) in AL techniques Students work individually during the workshops to solve problems HSS provide individual or group coaching as needed Workshops offered before makeup tests Students must attend workshop before taking a makeup test!
Improvements in Passing Rates Math & Physics w/o workshops = 50% (Spring 2008 & earlier) w. workshops = 77% - 89% (Fall 2011) Aerodynamics I w/o workshops = 63% (Fall 2010) w. workshops = 85% (Fall 2011)
Students who attended at least one workshop (Spring 2012) Fluid Mechanics = 95% Could not attend due to time conflicts = 14% Aerodynamics II = 96% Could not attend due to time conflicts = 18%
Student Feedback (Spring 2012) Fluid Mechanics = 63% response, 86% + very helpful = 36% helpful = 50% not helpful = 9% Aerodynamics II = 65% response, 96% + very helpful = 46% helpful = 50% not helpful = 4%
Student Perspective (Spring 2012) Practice in a more relaxed atmosphere. Increased ability for math modeling. Coached into developing a problem solving approach. Immediate help.
Student Perspective (Spring 2012) Leaders would not give answers; provided hints; students challenged to think on their own; “I worked through each problem in ways I wouldn’t normally be attempting while studying on my own”. Exposed to different kinds of problems, including open-ended; looked at problems from different angles.
Student Perspective (Spring 2012) Problems were challenging; greatly enhanced their problem solving skills. Identified weaknesses in their understanding of the material; opportunities to address these weaknesses. “Without the workshops I wouldn’t have studied as much as I should for the makeup tests”.
Student Leaders’ Perspective Student misconceptions: Doing well academically: ability to repeat verbatim information from text / lectures. Contributing faculty practices: Exam problems identical to examples in text / lectures. Open book exams – students adapt existing solution from text / notes.
Improvements (Fall 2012) Weekly or bi-weekly quizzes Workshops are offered weekly Students attend workshops before each test Normally, no make up tests! Special cases: to re-take a test: Must attend special workshop Must solve at least one problem correctly
Conclusions 1.Students have great difficulty solving even straightforward problems. These difficulties are both cognitive: a.No working knowledge in math + physics affective: b.Inadequate time on task c.Lack of individual practice lack of appropriate pedagogy: d.No coaching in problem solving skills 2.Student-led AL workshops address (d) but may also improve (a) and (b). 3.Student performance on tests has improved dramatically. Eliminate makeup tests altogether?