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Frontiers in Education Conference, 2009. FIE '09. 39th IEEE

Date 18-21 Oct. 2009

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 379
  • [Front cover]

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    Freely Available from IEEE
  • T-Buddy: Teach Buddy, a socializing medium to enhance learning

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    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (699 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We have developed and deployed T-Buddy system which is a social networking platform that significantly enhances the students' comprehension of the class material by promoting collaborative learning outside the classroom setting. T-Buddy system includes an online forum for posting comments on specific research topics posted by the students as well as a socializing medium that allows students to add friends, form communities, send messages, etc. T-Buddy also includes a novel Peer-To-Peer (P2P) credit system. The students reported that the system made learning ¿more fun and engaging¿ and was instrumental in facilitating better comprehension of the course material. View full abstract»

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  • A study of biologically-inspired design as a context for enhancing student innovation

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    This article describes an investigation of the use of biologically-inspired design as a context from which to teach innovative design. The research compared ideation behavior among mechanical engineering students from a capstone design class to mechanical engineering students who had taken a semester-long course specifically focused on biologically-inspired design. Both groups of students were presented with the same design challenge, and pre-established metrics were used to characterize the novelty and variety of the resultant designs generated by the students. The designs from the biologically-inspired design students had an average novelty score 80% higher than those from the control group of capstone students, and the result was statistically-significant. The biologically-inspired design students also had a 37% higher average variety score, although a small sample size led to a high variance and prevented statistical significance. The increased scores for novelty and variety imply a greater tendency toward innovative design among the biologically-inspired design students. The source of greater innovation is unclear but may be due to improved analogical reasoning capabilities among the biologically-inspired design students. View full abstract»

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  • Innovative program and course outcomes' assessment tools

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    This paper describes in details innovative course outcomes' assessment tools used by the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University. A course outcomes' assessment program, developed in house, is used to evaluate the contributions of a given course, training, or any other item in the curriculum to the design, delivery and achievement of program outcomes. The program is an Excel Workbook which includes many sheets for input, calculation, and analysis and interpretation of student scores in relation to preset assessment tools outcome standards. For instance student scores for activities such as the final exam are fed in where the relevance of the final exam questions to the course outcomes is also entered. Upon input of all the course activities in the data entry sheets the students' final grades and reports on the assessment of individual activities are generated automatically. Reports showing results of course outcomes' assessments and degree of outcomes achievements are also generated automatically based on student performance (scores) in the specific course outcomes. View full abstract»

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  • A Synchronous Distance Learning program implementation in engineering and mathematics

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    Distance learning is increasingly seen by many institutions as an efficient and economical method for expanding educational programs to remote locations in hopes of increasing student enrollments by reaching beyond limited geographic areas of coverage. However, the introduction of distance learning into a traditional program requires changes that directly or indirectly affect several aspects of the educational program well beyond student enrollment. Teaching quality, teaching methods, faculty workloads, student satisfaction, and student perception of instructor efficiency are also impacted. Some effects of Synchronous Distance Learning (SDL) on many areas of operation of an educational program can be effectively measured and the success of the SDL implementation can be assessed. The results of this research are useful in assisting educational institutions considering SDL as an option for expanding their offerings. The stated improvements and goals of the expansion may have indirect effects that must also be considered but are rarely foreseen or taken into account during the planning and design phases. This article concentrates on SDL in engineering and mathematics but its findings are applicable to other disciplines as well. View full abstract»

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  • Work In Progress - academic and student affairs collaboration to enhance student success in engineering and applied sciences

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    A First-Year Engineering Experience (FYEE) program was implemented at Western Michigan University (WMU) in 2005, and it has improved retention rates of engineering and applied sciences students above historic rates. To build on current success, faculty and administrators from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Residence Life staff embarked on a collaborative process to help first time first-year students grow their life skills and academic habits, and make connection with the WMU faculty and staff and among themselves. Student development programs that connect the cognitive and the affective domains have the potential to further improve the success of FYEE. Preliminary results indicate academic and student affairs collaboration has begun to take hold at WMU. View full abstract»

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  • Student perceptions on the importance of distance learning module design dimensions

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    A controlled experimental study was conducted to better understand how guidelines in screen design could be applied to the design of Web-Based Distance Learning (WBDL) environments, where multimedia such as audio, video, figures and text are displayed simultaneously on the screen. Six design dimensions were studied including aesthetics, clarity, excitement, organization, simplicity and structure. Using content analysis methodology, a total of 215 descriptions of the design dimensions were evaluated and 37 design attributes were identified from the descriptions. The results of the study provide a comprehensive list of the attributes associated with each design dimension and the relative level of importance between the design dimensions. The results showed that Clarity is the most important dimension while excitement is apparently the least important of all. Further, the characteristics of ¿text¿ and how it is used in a Web module appear to be a design attribute that influences all the design dimensions under study. The results suggest that even though attractiveness might not be considered one of the important dimensions based on the rankings, as modules are made ¿Attractive¿ following the results of design attributes in this study, then desirable qualities of the other design dimensions are achieved. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - MeTube: A novel way to teach database to undergraduates

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    In this paper, we describe the principles, outlines, and implementation of a new undergraduate database course using MeTube (a variation of the well known YouTube) as a motivational semester-long project, which is attractive, fosters creativity in students and is complex enough to introduce DBMS theories and techniques. We provide detailed course assessment results and describe our experience from past two semesters. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - a mobile performance support system for vocational education and training

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    Mobile devices are popular and well used by many people within our target groups, but not for learning. With the current rate of development mobile devices will have the capability of delivering high quality, multi-media content at affordable prices within next years. Performance centered approach has been proven to be more effective than the traditional lecture-practicetest (expository inductive) in training higher order skills, for preparing learners for self-learning, improving, adapting for changing jobs. This project applies performance-centered approach in mobile learning management system for educational and training purposes. Students receive a set of learning resources; description of adaptive scenarios; performance centered assessment methods and criteria for evaluation and experts' advices. Evaluation plan/strategy and the measurement instruments are aimed at measuring the effect of the project on knowledge, skills and attitudes of students and trainees. View full abstract»

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  • Need for study and career counselling in computer science

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    High drop-out rates among undergraduate students of computer science (CS) can be explained by low study motivation. One way to increase students' motivation is to support their professional orientation and identity by various study and career counselling methods. A survey of Finnish CS students' awareness of their career choices and evaluation of undergraduate courses from the viewpoint of professional benefit, as well as an analysis of a group counselling module organized for first-year students, indicate that CS education can be improved not only by intensifying the professional aspects of individual courses, but also by including study and career counselling modules as integrating components of the whole CS curriculum. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - a research-based tool kit for communicating unique messages about engineering to first generation college students

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    The ultimate purpose of this work-in-progress is to contribute to increased recruitment and retention efforts for first generation college students studying engineering at the undergraduate level. This paper describes the first stages of a project which aims to translate the authors' research into a ¿tool kit¿ of practical outreach and recruitment materials (e.g., brochures, slides, web-based information) for use and adaptation by the engineering education community. With the completion of this work, outreach and recruitment staff, diversity program personnel, teaching faculty and administrators will be equipped with information and materials that will help them to recognize and address the distinct barriers first generation college students face in pursuing an engineering education. Research conducted at two institutions (a diverse urban, commuter university and a predominately White residential school in a rural area) guides the tool kit development. View full abstract»

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  • Benefiting from electronically blurred boundaries between students and academics in problem based learning

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    This work highlights the difficulties faced by students and academics in constructivist approaches to problem based learning. Here the learners are required to work in groups, which may occasionally have `free-riders' or `passenger' students. Spotting these `free-riders' tends to be difficult, making fair assessment impossible. Using effective communication tutors can engage students better and avoid `free-rider' behaviour. As shown here, this is best achieved through cognitive congruence. However, doing this in person is a resource intensive task. Instead e-logs were used as it helped identify `passenger' students and provided individual contributions. Most students surveyed agreed that the e-logs afforded individual guidance. Also, as e-logs were weighted more than the group assignments, it motivated students to contribute to own and eventually group work. The author draws inspiration from the ancient Indian `Gurukul' system of education. Also presented here, are the similarities and dissimilarities of the `Gurukul' system with the constructivist approaches of today. Both qualitative and quantitative data was collected and analysed for this study (N =40). We show how electronic tools blurred the boundaries, creating an e-Gurukul system to benefit students and academics alike. Finally, the e-Gurukul approach is evaluated for individual engagement, group participation and knowledge creation. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - bridging the technology gap: An analysis of industry needs and student skills

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    Discussions with individuals in industry and with students uncovered a potential disconnect in technological skills. The computer skills students are acquiring might not fully match up with the current needs in the workforce. As members of engineering and computer science departments, the responsibility often falls on us to provide service courses in technology. But is this the correct approach, and if so, what should be provided? The goal of this research project is to detect any gaps in computer knowledge that might exist between academia and industry. To this end various PLNU alumni in diverse and distinguished areas of employment were interviewed and surveyed in order to discover the technological skills needed by professionals in their fields. Additionally, all undergraduate students at PLNU were given the opportunity to respond to a survey to determine their fluency with key computer skills. Suggestions are made regarding how to address the possible disparity between knowledge and need. View full abstract»

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  • The business of Service Learning

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    Service Learning is a program where students utilize skills gained in coursework to benefit members of the community. Students gain practical experience, and those being served gain valuable assistance. Service Learning programs range from volunteer hours added as a requirement to a traditional course to semester or yearlong classes dedicated to Service Learning. Each model has pros and cons and the effectiveness of a particular model can vary based on the characteristics of and resources available at the individual university. This paper presents the evolving model of a year-long course dedicated to Service Learning and housed in the Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences department of Point Loma Nazarene University. PLNU is a relatively small liberal arts university without an administrative department overseeing Service Learning. The course is one of three options for gaining practical experience. Hence, the program must be flexible enough to provide a good experience for any number of students and combination of majors, and must be self-contained. We have chosen to run our Service Learning course using a business model where student resources can be realigned as necessary to meet project needs. In addition to project assignments, students cover administrative tasks and provide training to other students. View full abstract»

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  • Using cooperative writing and oral presentations as peer teaching - evaluating the effectiveness of elements of inductive teaching and social constructivism on student outcomes

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    The overall teaching strategy in our basic materials engineering course has been transformed from deductive practice to an inductive teaching and learning system where most of the elements of a student-centered approach are present: cooperative learning, case-based teaching, active/inquiry learning, concept learning, problem-based learning, and constructive alignment. All these principles are supported by educational theory based in cognitive and social constructivism. Thus, this academic year aspects of social constructivism were emphasized and researched in the course. A new component this academic year was that the students' comprehensive research paper and oral presentations/posters were completed in teams using cooperative learning methods. Several research questions were posed. Did using the cooperative learning method improve the quality and technical depth of the research papers/presentations or improve specific learning outcomes? Did student retention and successful course completion improve? Overall, cooperative learning certainly did improve the overall scores and technical depth of the research papers and presentations. Substantial improvements in higher order thinking and language skills (analyzing and relating design requirements to complex materials properties such as viscoelasticity, anisotropy, specific strength/stiffness and phase changes) were also observed. Measurements of end-of-term student misconceptions showed improvements in scaffolding and reconstruction of knowledge in these same conceptual areas. View full abstract»

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  • Assessing inquiry learning in a circuits/electronics course

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    Physics education research and the development of ¿inquiry¿ teaching methods over the last 20 years have, by all measures, significantly reduced misconceptions and improved student understanding in physics. But adoption of these methods in upper division science and engineering courses has been slow. This paper describes the modification of an electronics/circuits course designed for physics majors to determine whether the benefits of the inquiry method can be extended to upper level circuits/electronics courses. Formative and summative assessments and methods for evaluation of student misconceptions and understanding including the application of a standardized electric circuit concept inventory instrument are described. The results suggest that inquiry teaching methods implemented in upper level university courses contribute significantly to extinguishing common misconceptions and improving long-term understanding of the material. With so much to be gained it is time for the engineering education community to embrace these concepts and implement the fruits of physics education research for the benefit of our students and the world community. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - using a course management system in K-12 education

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    We report on the recent activities of PRISM, an electronic hub to support integration of digital resources into 6th - 12th-grade STEM classrooms for Indiana teachers. Specifically, this presentation gives a description and a preliminary assessment of the efficacy of integrating a course management system (Moodle) into a range of 6th - 12th grade content courses. View full abstract»

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  • Forums and wikis and blogs, oh my: Building a foundation for social computing in education

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    The goal of this study was to build a conceptual foundation for the educational use of Web 2.0 social computing technology by conducting an analysis of the studies reporting pedagogical uses of wikis, blogs, and threaded discussion forums. The analysis included an identification of the distinguishing and the shared characteristics of each of these asynchronous computer mediated communication tools, followed by an assessment of the implications of those characteristics. View full abstract»

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  • Workshop - information policy and the college professor

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    College professors routinely are required to work in four entirely different environments - in the office or classroom, at home, on a mobile device, and on a public computer in a library or Internet cafe¿. Each of these settings impose unique requirements for the management of information. This three-hour workshop provides the college professor with an overview of the challenges to proper management of information that are inherent in the nature of the profession. This workshop examines the legal, policy, and technological considerations necessary for properly observing requirements for fair use of copyrighted material, privacy of educational records, and information security. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - professional mentoring for cs students

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    This paper introduces a novel scheme to provide final year undergraduates with one-to-one mentoring by professional programmers, engineers and managers. The principal mode of communication between student and mentor is email, MSN or SKYPE. Discussions focus on the student's personal project. Volunteer mentors have been recruited using the alumni email list and from the members of a Microsoft SIG. Students can benefit extensively from a professional perspective and fresh encouragement. The driving aim is to raise their targets, give them a realistic view of the level of performance expected by commerce, and thus enhance their career prospects. View full abstract»

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  • Examining science and engineering students' attitudes toward computer science

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    Concerns have been raised with respect to the recent decline in enrollment in undergraduate computer science majors. Women are one subpopulation that is severely underrepresented. To better understand the factors that discourage students, both males and females, from pursuing degrees in computer science, a valid and reliable survey is needed. This type of instrument would support the quantitative tracking of attitudinal changes with respect to the field overtime as well as attitudinal comparisons across various subpopulations. This paper describes a survey which is being developed based on current research in computer science education at the Colorado School of Mines through support of the National Science Foundation. Based on the results of a factor analysis and with respect to the pilot population (Colorado School of Mines undergraduate students), there is evidence to support the assertion that this instrument is accurately measuring the five constructs that it was designed to assess. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - new project “Internet-based Performance-centered Learning Environment for Curriculum Support” (IPLECS)

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    This project answers to the need of development of a complete master degree program at the point of intersection between information technology and communications. The innovative performance-centered approach has been developed, tested and implemented and our partnership experience returned strong positive results - it has been proven to be more effective than the traditional lecture-practice-test (expository inductive) in training higher order skills, for preparing learners for self-learning, improving and adapting for changing jobs. View full abstract»

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  • Work in progress - International Summer Engineering Program at METU: A bridge to global competency

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    The International Summer Engineering (ISE) Program at The Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey, is designed to leverage many unique bridging characteristics of METU and Turkey to allow US and METU engineering students to quickly strengthen their global competency skills. METU was established through a Turkish-American Cold War initiative in the late 1950's and is based on the American university model. The ISE Program is designed for equal numbers of exchange and METU students. The structure of the program encourages US and METU students to interact formally on class projects and informally outside of class. The first class being offered through this program is the 4th year technical elective class Fuel Cell Fundamentals. View full abstract»

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  • Critical reading-an evaluation of a teaching approach

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    Reading for research purposes obviously goes beyond basic comprehension and requires the reader to have reasonable confidence in and mastery of a range of critical reading skills. There is a generalized concern about student proficiency in this area. This is a difficult challenge in one's own language and even more so for foreign language students. The students involved in this study are enrolled in a two-part Communications course at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Reading comprises an important part of their endeavours in the programme and developing effective critical reading skills is essential to their success. The purpose of the study is to evaluate an approach to teaching critical reading, employed by the researcher to determine its effectiveness in developing such skills. A control and study group with similar academic profiles were used and a series of reading tests was administered to each group. In addition, interviews and focus group were conducted for qualitative data. Results across groups were then compared. Test results indicate a higher level of successful performance in the class exposed to the reading approach. View full abstract»

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  • The use of digital manipulatives in k-12: robotics, GPS/GIS and programming

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    Faculty from 4-H Youth Development, Biosystems Engineering, and Education have collaborated to develop and implement an innovative robotics and geospatial technologies program, delivered in an informal learning setting of 4-H clubs and afterschool programs. Aimed at middle school youth, the program uses robotics and global positioning system (GPS) receivers and geographic information system (GIS) software to provide hands-on, self-directed learning experiences that promote personalized comprehension of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through experimentation. The goals of the program are to prepare youth for the 21st Century workplace by providing them opportunities to learn STEM concepts and foster positive attitudes about STEM. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project has undergone extensive research and evaluation over the three years of the project. Results have focused on the project's impact on: a) youth learning of computer programming, mathematics, geospatial concepts, and engineering/robotics concepts and b) youth attitudes and motivation towards science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In contrast to the preponderance of research on educational robotics relying on anecdotal and descriptive strategies, this research uses empirical, quantitative methods involving the use of comparison groups and pre-post analyses. View full abstract»

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