Social-Driven Propagation of Active Learning and Associated Scholarship Activity in Engineering: A Case Study

NanoProduct Lab Members in Authors

Mostafa Bedewy
Group Leader and Principal Investigator (PI)

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Social-Driven Propagation of Active Learning and Associated Scholarship Activity in Engineering: A Case Study

Renee M. Clark, Samuel Dickerson, Mostafa Bedewy, Kevin P. Chen, Ahmed Dallal, Andres Gomez, Jingtong Hu, Robert Kerestes and Louis Luangkesorn

International Journal of Engineering Education



Previous research demonstrated highly positive outcomes in exam performance, the instructional environment, and student perspectives with the second author’s first-time use of simple active learning in electrical and computer engineering (ECE) courses.  At the same time, the literature indicated that active learning was not propagating within engineering education to the extent it should be, including in ECE.  Given this, the first and second authors proposed to work as change agents and coaches to pilot a program for propagating the use of active learning within their school, starting with a small group of nine interested faculty from their two respective departments.  Their proposed approach to this propagation program mirrored the successful coach/instructor approach they had used, but with both serving as coaches for faculty in their departments.  The proposal was funded, leading to a one-year propagation program involving learning-community meetings, individual coaching and support of instructors, classroom observation, assessment of student perspectives, formative feedback to the instructors, and subsequent follow-up with instructors, which aligned with change strategies identified by Henderson, Beach, and Finkelstein within STEM education.  Using a multiple-case study approach, this paper describes in detail the participation and achievements of the nine faculty members during the program timeframe.  Results: Of the nine initial instructors, seven participated and two did not participate in the one-year program.  A multi-case study approach was used to investigate the extent to which the proposed program was associated with the propagation of active learning and educational scholarship activities.  Multiple measures indicated this program was effective in doing this, including measures of participation, instructor post-program interviews, notable instructor cases of new or enhanced use of active learning, educational scholarship activities by three instructors, and continuing lines of research between the project directors and several instructors.  Conclusions: The project’s “people” focus, in particular one-on-one interactions between the project directors and instructors as well as the “community” interactions, appeared to be a strength of the program and likely contributed to its success.  This work provides a practical approach (with detailed steps and guidelines) with results for other educators with goals to propagate active learning and educational scholarship.

Category:   Journal Publications

Tags:   Education