Application of Blended and Active Learning to Chemical Engineering Design Instruction

  • Author / Creator
    Jamieson, Marnie V.
  • The Capstone Design Course instructional team was selected to participate in the digital learning initiative at the University of Alberta. The goals of this initiative are to increase student engagement and promote flexible, independent learning. The objectives of the instructional team were to enhance the interactions between instructors and student design teams in the face of increasing enrollment and to align the course strategically with attributes expected for graduating engineers set out by the University and elaborated in the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) Guidelines. Existing course materials were redeveloped to an asynchronous online format for individual student engagement. Related activities were completed in class. Course delivery effectiveness is being evaluated by comparison with previous cohorts, pre - post course student skill self-assessment, student engagement and satisfaction, and will include post course interview and survey data. This thesis contributes to the development of a continuous improvement process for teaching and learning for Chemical Engineering students, by creating a blended course design based on constructive alignment with program objectives, learning activities and performance based assessment consistent with the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board Graduate Attribute Assessment. Examination of factors that impact the quality of the learning experience for students and instructors, studying the impacts of changes, tool development and technology applications, especially blended learning, to determine significant factors in improving learning, performance, and satisfaction are key elements of this work The key research questions investigated in this work are: • Does flipped learning lead to equivalent or better outcomes for Design II students? • Is CEAB Graduate Attribute development demonstrated from data collected? • Is student effort and quality of the final report equivalent or better for flipped learning students? • Does a flipped learning structure produce equivalent or better academic performance? • Is the co-op program a predictor or factor in student outcomes in design? • Is the co-op program a predictor or factor for student results in a flipped structure? While studying the data to answer these questions potential confounding variables were identified. These variables were examined to determine the potential impact (bias) on the measurement of student performance and comparison of the traditional and blended course design outcomes. Confounding variables included student to instructor ratio, course design model (mentorship or internship), program of study (co-op or regular), and student intellectual development bias within the co-op and regular program cohorts. The principle findings of this study are that blended learning in the context of a flipped design course structure resulted in equivalent aggregate student performance and individual outcomes when compared with historical traditional results for both co-op and regular program students. Graduate Attribute development was demonstrated from the data collected. Student effort and quality of final report produced is found to be equivalent regardless of the course structure. A flipped learning structure produced equivalent academic performance when compared to historical performance. The co-op program was found to be a predictor of higher academic performance in the design course historically when student instructor ratios were high. It is less of a factor in the internship model and when student instructor ratios are lower. Co-op students are more likely to achieve a grade of A+ in capstone design than regular program students, most other grades are equally likely between the two programs when comparing historically and between the blended and traditional delivery methods. Ongoing course developments linked to the second iteration of the pilot project are described and discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
  • Specialization
    • Chemical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • John M. Shaw (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Pierre Mertiny (Mechanical Engineering)
    • Norma Nocente (Education)