413179 Show Them the Data: A Strategy to Engage Students in a Material and Energy Balances Course

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: 8:46 AM
Alpine East (Hilton Salt Lake City Center)
Monica H. Lamm1, Shana K. Carpenter2, Shuhebur Rahman2, Patrick I. Armstrong2, Clark R. Coffman3 and Robert D. Reason4, (1)Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (2)Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (3)Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (4)School of Education, Iowa State University, Ames, IA

What is the best way to learn how to apply fundamental science and engineering concepts to solve material and energy balance problems?  We gave sophomore chemical engineering students two types of worked examples: Read and Copy (requiring students to read a fully worked example and copy key steps in the solution), or Read and Solve (requiring students to read a partially worked example and complete the gaps in the solution on their own).  Students were randomly assigned to one of the worked example conditions.  Two days later, students completed an unannounced “quiz” on the concept.  This sequence of delivering a worked example, followed two days later by a quiz was conducted a second time (with a different topic) and the worked example assignments were switched so that each student received the other worked example condition for the second concept. The follow-up quiz scores revealed significantly better learning associated with Read and Solve over Read and Copy. We then showed the students this data and asked them which worked example method they would prefer to use in the future.  A few weeks later, the students were given a choice for how they wanted to work practice problems for the final exam. Although the majority of students indicated that they would prefer to use Read and Solve over Read and Copy, students’ choices when studying for the exam revealed a strong preference for studying solutions by Reading rather than by Solving.  In this talk, we will present these results and our analysis of how the student choices in the worked example study compare to a study habits inventory the students completed during the semester.

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See more of this Session: Free Forum on Engineering Education: The First Year and Sophomore Year
See more of this Group/Topical: Education Division