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Establishing Learning Communities among Engineering Freshmen through Peer-group Tutoring Program.
ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (2016)
  • Ben Oni, Tuskegee University
  • Vimal Viswanathan, Tuskegee University
Personal observations of students in engineering programs in my institution show that they are very heavily formula driven and consequently deficient in the critical thinking skills to independently evaluate and solve analytical problems. The dependency on formulae is so pervasive that it qualifies to be classified as an addiction i.e., formulae addiction labeled in this paper as “formulaholic” and defined as “the compulsive dependency on formulae to solve analytical problems to the subdual of critical thinking skills”. This formulae driven trait in these students results in poor performances in analytical-based courses. It also often leads to their lack of engagement in engineering classrooms. This problem is especially of critical concern in HBCU environments. In order to address this concern, the researchers are currently implementing a constructivism-infused peer learning approach for incoming engineering students. In this approach, the incoming freshmen are enrolled in specially designed peer-group tutorials that guide the participants to collectively solve problems by themselves. The performance of the students attending these tutorials was compared with a control group. The results showed that the students who attended the peer group tutorials performed significantly better in their class tests and analytical-thinking skills compared to the control group. Currently, the progress of these students is tracked through their engineering classes. Based on the feedback from the participating students, they found the group-learning method very effective. Further, they unofficially get together with their groups frequently to study for their exams in other classes. The preliminary data indicate that the peer-group tutorials are effective in creating learning communities within the engineering student population.
  • Peer Group,
  • Tutorial,
  • Peer learning,
  • Critical thinking skills,
  • “formulaholic”
Publication Date
October, 2016
Erie, PA.
Citation Information
Ben Oni and Vimal Viswanathan. "Establishing Learning Communities among Engineering Freshmen through Peer-group Tutoring Program." ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (2016)
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