Research

Active learning a flexible classroom. EECS 215

My research involves projects related to faculty teaching, student learning, and the relationships between those. Some of my current projects are listed below. Please contact me to learn more!

  • Student resistance to active learning
    This goal of this multi-institution project is to identify strategies instructors can use in the classroom to effectively reduce student resistance to active learning. Our work is grounded in the Expectancy-Violation Theory, and we are exploring student expectations for classroom instruction, faculty’s actual classroom practices (including both teaching approaches and strategies for using them), and student responses to instruction (ranging from active participation to active resistance). We’ve collected data from over 20 institutions across the country through interviews and focus groups with engineering faculty and undergraduate students; classroom observations of engineering undergraduate courses; and faculty and student surveys. We are using a mixed methods approach to describe the relationship between students’ expectations, faculty teaching practices, and student responses. Our analyses will allow us to determine whether/how Expectancy-Violation theory predicts student responses and to identify successful strategies for reducing resistance. The project is funded by two National Science Foundation grant (#DUE-1347718 and DUE-1744407).
  • Flexible classrooms in teaching and learning in engineering
    The goal of this project is to study the way classroom design (e.g., tables and chairs that are movable or a tiered, stadium-style classroom) affects faculty teaching and student learning. As part of our current pilot study, we are designing several flexible classroom spaces and conducting classroom observations to understand faculty and student interactions that occur in both traditional and flexible classrooms. Future research involves designing a more rigorous study grounded in research about classroom design, active learning, and responsive teaching (#DUE-1711533).
  • A new classroom technology (i-Newton) and its impact on student learning and engagement
    The goal of this project is to promote the engaged learning of engineering dynamics through the use of i-Newton, a tiny inertial measurement unit (IMU) that can wirelessly transmit motion data from a moving object (e.g., a bicycle, pogo stick, Frisbee) to a smart phone, tablet, or laptop. By allowing students to design and conduct their own experiments, we expect that i-Newton will (1) improve students’ conceptual understanding of underlying course concepts, (2) build students’ self-efficacy, and (3) increase students’ intention to persist in engineering. Main tasks for this project include customizing existing technology for i-Newton, creating i-Newton experiments for instructor demonstrations, integrating i-Newton into student-run experiments, and assessing the impact of i-Newton using the dynamics concept inventory and other validated instruments as well as student performance and enrollment data. The project also includes plans for the institutionalization of i-Newton at U-M and its adoption at other institutions. The project is funded by a National Science Foundation grant (#DUE-1609204).