Faculty and Student Perceptions of Project-Enhanced Learning in Early Engineering Education: Barriers, Benefits, and Breakthroughs

M. Razi Nalim, Manikanda Rajagopal, Robert Helfenbein
2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
Prof. Razi Nalim has over 25 years of practical and analytical experience in combustion, explosions, engines, and non-steady flow related areas in industry, academia, and government. His career began in internal-combustion engine emissions control, cogeneration systems, and engine testing. Abstract The application of problem-based learning (PBL) to undergraduate engineering education has emerged as an area of research interest over the past few decades. A related form of active learning is
more » ... ve learning is project-enhanced learning (PEL), intended to support integrative thinking and student motivation. PEL is specifically designed as a supplement to, but not a replacement for, traditional teaching methods in early engineering science courses. Data regarding perceived benefits and barriers to PEL as an intervention for improved student learning were collected from instructors engaged in PEL, and were examined using extended-term mixed-method research design (ETMM). ETMM enables researchers to remain attentive to contextual factors shaping program implementation and to changes in implementation over time. The case study included interviews with faculty, and survey instruments as part of the multiple data-point strategy. Among the findings, instructors adding PEL to their instructional strategies expressed satisfaction with improved student motivation, interaction, and socialization, which may help with student success and retention in engineering. Some instructors expressed concern about losing focus on the challenging analytical course topics, but those who attempted PEL were able to achieve appropriate balance by designing project tasks to align well with the topics and by limiting non-aligned project activity. In some cases, instructors who initially resisted adopting PEL changed to a favorable disposition after interacting with students and faculty who were favorable. However, a small number of instructors responded to the survey with a strong negative view of PEL.
doi:10.18260/1-2--19605 fatcat:xu7wix4u4fhhrd5w336mnjmwxi