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An Engineeered Education: Design And Optimization Of Engineering Courses

Speaker: Nancy Lape, Harvey Mudd College/William R. Kenan, Visiting Professorship for Distinguished Teaching, Princeton University
Series: CBE Departmental Seminars
Location: Elgin Room (E-Quad A224)
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 3, 2018, 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Overwhelming evidence (e.g. Freeman et al. 2015) has shown that employing active learning techniques significantly improves student learning over lecture-based instruction. But which forms of active learning are the most effective; for example, are flipped classrooms better than other modes of active learning? And how do groups typically underrepresented in STEM perform in response to different pedagogical methods?  In this talk, I will discuss our research aimed at addressing these questions, as well as the engineering design and optimization approach we have taken to implement best practices from our work and the literature. Specifically, I will focus on two studies: (1) a controlled study of flipped classrooms as compared to more “traditional” forms of active learning, and (2) the use of the engineering design process to redesign, implementation, and assess a large introductory engineering course. Using a variety of implementation and outcome measures (e.g., pre and post assessments of student surveys; content assessments; homework and course grades), both studies assessed the extent to which the educational intervention impacted students’ academic learning gains and attitudes. Results range from no differences to substantial gains, and in some cases show differences based on representation in STEM, while in others no differences are observed.