Matthew West

Sustainable reform of "Introductory Dynamics" driven by a community of practice

M. West and G. L. Herman

in Proceedings of the 121st American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition (ASEE 2014), Paper ID #10519, 2014.

The Strategic Instructional Initiatives Program (SIIP) is a college-wide effort to promote the sustainable adoption of evidence-based pedagogies in the College of Engineering. Rather than rely on solitary faculty champions to initiate reforms, SIIP aims to improve the sustainability of reforms by forming Communities of Practice (CoPs) consisting of instructors who are committed to the reform effort. This model of collaborative development provides avenues to secure faculty buy-in, organically spread effective practices, facilitate evaluation, and provide just-in-time training for faculty. This paper describes the rationale for the CoP-based reform model and presents a case study for how this model was used to drive the reform of the course Introductory Dynamics. This course was redesigned to achieve three goals: (1) improve students' low engagement and enthusiasm, (2) improve instructors' experience and reduce their high workload, and (3) maintain and elevate the current standards for content. Introductory Dynamics is one of the core second-year mechanics courses in our engineering curriculum, serving approximately 800 students per year. Course revisions have led to the adoption of a spectrum of evidence-based practices such as context-rich, collaborative problem-solving sessions, and classroom response systems. These efforts have improved student satisfaction with the course and have stimulated additional reform efforts of other high-enrollment mechanics courses.

Full text: WeHe2014.pdf