(9c) Fostering Student Development from Novice to Expert

Miskioglu, E. E. - Presenter, Bucknell University
Research Interests:  

Fostering studentsâ?? transition from novice to expert is a key component of education. Among the factors at play in this process, I am interested in multiple representations for enhancing problem solving abilities, use of simulations for developing engineering intuition, and self-efficacy development. 

Current Research and Future Direction:

1) Simulations as a tool for developing student â??engineering intuitionâ?

Simulations are a powerful supplement to the engineering classroom, allowing for otherwise infeasible experiments to be completed virtually. However, students often fail to question the simulationsâ?? assumptions, and/or fail to assess the final answerâ??s accuracy. This project is a collaborative effort with a faculty at a small teaching institution. Currently, we are working to understand what factors may distinguish students that more often successfully address the assumptions of a simulation problem from those that do not. This information will inform future work on better optimizing the use of simulations for the benefit of all students.

2) The time-course of, and team effects on, individual self-efficacy development during senior design.

Many studies have shown that senior design has positive effects on student self-efficacy. However, few (if any) look at how student self-efficacy changes as the course progresses. In this work, I have noticed that some self-efficacy items show gains early in the semester, while others show gains only later. In future work, I will further assess the influence of team dynamics on individual self-efficacy. These results will inform approaches to team conflict resolution, and better our understanding of design self-efficacy development.

3) Evaluating disciplinary biases in representations used by faculty, and their impact on student learning.

The use of multiple representations has been linked to enhanced learning, but the connections specifically to development of problem solving and critical thinking skills across disciplines have not been thoroughly investigated. Here, comparisons will be made not only of representations used across subdisciplines in the same general area (e.g., biology vs. chemistry), but also across schools/colleges. Currently, this work is in the development stage. A multi-institution study of faculty is envisioned, and ultimately this will lead to work incorporating representations into curriculum through low-cost interventions.

PhD Dissertation: â??Learning in Style: Investigation of Factors Impacting Student Success in Chemical Engineering at Individual and Team-Levels with a Focus on Student Learning Styles.â?

Under the supervision of Dr. David W. Wood, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, The Ohio State University

Previous Research Experience: Following a variety of experiences in the fields of chemical engineering, genetics, medicine, and education, I found my way into chemical engineering education research. I began my graduate career working on developing bacterial biosensors capable of identifying nuclear hormone receptor agonists and antagonists for the malaria vector mosquito Anopheles gambiae. In my second year my advisor offered me the opportunity to take on the educational research component a proposal, and I began examining student factors for success in the chemical engineering curriculum with particular attention to learning styles, student self-efficacy, and team dynamics. This research became my focus, and I have since continued in engineering education. My dissertation work included three projects assessing the factors of learning styles, student self-efficacy (individual level), collective efficacy (team level), and attitudes, perceptions, and performance (individual and team levels): (i) Individual Level (introductory Mass and Energy Balances course)â??evaluating the aforementioned factors with respect to specific exam problems and understanding how the variability in the learning styles engaged by these problems may correlate to self-efficacy and performance; (ii) Team Level (senior level Unit Operations course)â??understanding how team composition (homogeneous vs. heterogeneous) with respect to learning styles may influence these factors; (iii) Combinatorial (Individual and Team) Level (senior level Design course)â??understanding how collective efficacy may influence individual self-efficacy and again if there are any correlations with learning styles and performance.

Teaching Experience:  I have taught a variety of chemical engineering courses. While a graduate student, I taught my departmentâ??s graduate level Research Communication course for two years. From my work with this class, I was given the opportunity to design and develop a brand new course for undergraduate students in Technical and Professional Communication and have taught that both at Ohio State and Bucknell. In my position as a visiting faculty at Bucknell, I have taught and co-taught courses at all levels: Thermodynamics, Separations, Senior Design (co-instructor), Technical and Professional Communication, and Mass and Energy Balances (co-instructor). This variety of experience both speaks to and enhances my ability to teach across the curriculum. Most notably, teaching senior design has better allowed me to prepare my course objectives for freshmen through junior courses. Co-instruction has further enhanced my teamwork skills, and my ability to adapt to new teaching environments and adopt styles that may not necessarily be my own natural style.

Teaching Interests:  I am interested in teaching across the chemical engineering curriculum, as well as continuing to teach technical/professional communication in some form. These interests align well in capstone design, and I also enjoy working with early career students in mass and energy balances. I would be happy to teach any of the courses in my repertoire again, while slowly continuing to expand that repertoire with other courses.



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