The engineering classroom is still relevant


2016-06-26, Article: Version of Record

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Attrition in engineering is a complex issue with dynamically linked variables related to teaching methods in the classroom, student learning behaviors, and student perceptions of difficult material. Extensive research has been conducted in order to understand common, yet ineffective teaching practices in engineering that result in the loss of numerous future engineers. The objective of this study was to determine student actions necessary to achieve a desired grade in any engineering course, regardless of course delivery method and instructor effectiveness in the classroom. An anonymous survey was disseminated and logistic regression models were developed in order to determine relationships between self-regulated learning behaviors and final grades in seven freshman to senior engineering classes taught by civil engineering faculty. A total of five prediction models were developed for each letter grade, with the failing grade "F" serving as the baseline condition, or null model. The models found three significant variables that affect a student's final grade: regular class attendance, note-taking during class, and if he or she could keep up with the instructor during lecture. These interactive learning behaviors were all identified as critical for success, defining success as receiving an "A" in an engineering course. The combination of students taking notes and attending class showed the highest probability of a student receiving an "A." Results of this study have been summarized into a graphic that the authors show and discuss during the first class with students. This powerful graphic shows students what they can do in classes of all levels of civil engineering to succeed in their ever-changing learning environment. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2016.


Citation: Fitzsimmons, E. J., Tucker-Kulesza, S. E., Li, X., Jeter, W., & Fallin, J. R. (2016). The engineering classroom is still relevant.