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Can Students Flourish in Engineering Classrooms?
Journal of STEM Education
  • Peggy Boylan-Ashraf, San Jose State University
  • Steven A. Freeman, Iowa State University
  • Mack C. Shelley, Iowa State University
  • Özgür Keleş, San Jose State University
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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.

This article is from Journal of STEM Education 18(1) (2017): 16–24. Posted with permission.

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Institute for STEM Education and Research
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Citation Information
Peggy Boylan-Ashraf, Steven A. Freeman, Mack C. Shelley and Özgür Keleş. "Can Students Flourish in Engineering Classrooms?" Journal of STEM Education Vol. 18 Iss. 1 (2017) p. 16 - 24
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