Can Students Flourish in Engineering Classrooms?

Freeman, Steven
Boylan-Ashraf, Peggy
Freeman, Steven
Shelley, Mack
Keleş, Özgür
Shelley, Mack
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This study investigated the role of a new paradigm in teaching large introductory, fundamental engineering mechanics (IFEM) courses that combined student-centered learning pedagogies and supplemental learning resources. Demographic characteristics in this study included a total of 405 students, of whom 347 (85.7%) are males and 58 are (14.3%) females. The students’ majors included aerospace engineering, agricultural engineering, civil engineering, construction engineering, industrial engineering, materials engineering, and mechanical engineering.
Results of this study, as tested using an independent samples t-test, validated using a nonparametric independent samples test, and a general linear multivariate model analysis, indicated overwhelmingly that there is a difference between a class taught passively using the teacher-centered pedagogy and a class taught actively using student-centered pedagogy.
The principal focus of this work was to determine if the new paradigm was successful in improving student understanding of course concepts in statics of engineering using student-centered pedagogies in large classes. After evaluating the effects of several variables on students’ academic success, the results may provide important information for both faculty members and researchers and present a convincing argument to faculty members interested in academic reform but hesitant to abandon conventional teaching practices. By promoting a new paradigm, the potential for improving understanding of engineering fundamentals on a larger scale may be realized.

<p>This article is from Journal of STEM Education 18(1) (2017): 16–24. Posted with permission.</p>
Engineering, Active Learning