Making the case for adopting and evaluating innovative pedagogical techniques in engineering classrooms

Sohum A. Sohoni, Scotty Craig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


There is a large body of literature available on effective teaching and learning both within the American Society for Engineering Education's (ASEE's) conference proceedings and journals, and in wider outlets. One primary goal for ASEE is to get engineering educators to adopt effective pedagogies in their classrooms. However, this is not happening at the rate or scale that the community is hoping. Furthermore, even in cases where it is happening, there is often limited evidence of correct implementation (e.g. techniques are implemented as intended or have the desired impact in the classroom). Our hypothesis is that, even for faculty who are interested in adopting innovative teaching methods, research findings and techniques that are not within their specific sub-discipline are difficult for them to implement and evaluate. These would-be adopters might appreciate some of the theory or the general learning principles from these publications, but they are often unclear on exactly how the principles can be applied within their classrooms. More importantly, they may not know how to assess the impact of the changes. Setting up research studies involving human subjects, designing the classroom evaluations, or simply designing the right questions to ask within assessments, are activities most practitioners are not trained in. Most practitioners may perceive that there is no time to implement these principles and evaluations. Thus, there exists a gap, even between most literature in engineering education and what can translate into classrooms. We believe that specifically focused, discipline-based, or even course-granularity based guiding papers are necessary to provide educators the tools and the confidence to employ effective teaching techniques and evaluate the impact of these techniques. This work, a collaboration between a computer architect who has expanded his research into engineering education, and a cognitive psychologist who specializes in the learning sciences and educational technology, aims to provide an example of such a 'guiding paper'. As an illustration of the kind of specific information and tools necessary for broader adoption, we present details of an experimental design, the pre-post test questions, and a discussion of the choices we had and the decisions we made. In this example scenario, we propose to investigate the impact of an intervention in a computer organization course. By analyzing a previous experimental setup, we will illustrate specific lessons learned that could facilitate the implementation and evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
StatePublished - Jun 26 2016
Event123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - New Orleans, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2016Jun 29 2016


Other123rd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityNew Orleans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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