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The purpose of this study is to examine the effectiveness of using guided inquiry in an Introduction to materials class at a large research university. Throughout the course, the instructor, as a facilitator, guided students by providing an active learning environment and probing students with questions. A comparison was made between lecture and guided inquiry sections, both taught by the same instructor. The materials concept inventory was used as a pretest/ post-test to measure students' learning; student satisfaction and self-assessment of learning was measured by the student assessment of learning gains. Measures of learning showed no significant difference between these two sections. The preliminary findings from surveys and interview data indicated that students did recognize the benefits of being active learners, but they felt uncomfortable without having an authority figure provide the Â¿correctÂ¿ answers. More detailed analysis of qualitative data is ongoing in order to gain more insights into using guided inquiry in engineering.
Date of Conference: 18-21 Oct. 2009