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Open2012 if-you-build-it

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Open2012 if-you-build-it

  1. 1. If You Build It… A Writing Intensive Cornerstone Course for STEM StudentsClif Kussmaul, Muhlenberg College kussmaul@muhlenberg.edu NCIIA 2012
  2. 2. NSF S-STEM grant DUE-0965834 Scholarships in Math & Science (SIMS) Improving Recruitment & Retention in the Mathematical & Physical Sciences• Financial aid (need-based scholarships)• Advising & support for academic & psychosocial issues• Mentoring & professional development• Faculty learning community to explore issues & possible strategies
  3. 3. We expected that a cornerstonecourse would improve STEM retention.• Developed by engineering schools to encourage & support students via – community building – professional development – real world activities, processes, & tools
  4. 4. We offered a STEM cornerstone using a First Year Seminar on new product development.• At Muhlenberg, a first year seminar – is a small discussion-oriented class – promotes intellectual conversation, critical thinking, and reading & writing – is based around instructor’s interests
  5. 5. FYS: Studying Problems, Creating SolutionsFYS: If You Build It…• Active-, inquiry-, & team-based activities• Reading, writing, & discussing variety of articles, chapters, & essays• Multidisciplinary design projects, e.g. – a pookalam – musical percussion instruments – new product development proposals
  6. 6. During pre-orientation, SIMS students created a pookalam.• Decorative pattern, for fall festival in south India• Traditionally of flowers; other materials common• Objectives for SIMS – Provide a novel design project, so students can investigate options, develop & implement a plan, and adjust as needed. – Show the design process outside of engineering. – Help SIMS students & advisors bond as a group. – Publicize SIMS program and the sciences in general.
  7. 7. Fall 2010 Fall 2011
  8. 8. Students worked in teams of 2-4 for 3 weeksto design & build percussion instruments.• Studied examples, designed concepts, & built prototypes.• Advice & feedback from local percussionist.• Finished instruments included: – flowerpot drum with adjustable head tension – hanging water bottles filled to different pitches – trapezoidal drum with multiple striking surfaces (wood, metal, & plastic) – PVC pipes cut to different pitches
  9. 9. Fall 2010
  10. 10. Fall 2011
  11. 11. Students developed new product proposals using a Stage-Gate model & templates.• Progressed from many ideas to a few concepts to larger team proposals & final presentations,• Favorably received by a faculty panel including Business & Entrepreneurial Studies faculty.• Final venture proposals included: – bracelets that change color with UV exposure – travel mugs that change color based on temperature – airplane seats for increased comfort – cups with separate dip compartments
  12. 12. Fall 2010
  13. 13. Fall 2011
  14. 14. Increased confidence in abilities. Less convinced of their importance?2010 Pre/PostSurvey pre-course post-course 3: Somewhat 2: Somewhat 3: Somewhat 2: Somewhat Unconfident Unconfident Unconfident Unconfident Confident Confident Confident Confident Average Average Change 1: Very 1: Very 4: Very 4: VeryLearning OutcomesRatingsConfidence in your abilityto:Work effectively in teams. 57% 43% 0% 0% 3.6 67% 33% 0% 0% 3.7 ↑0.1Develop & reviewproposals & reports. 14% 57% 29% 0% 2.9 50% 42% 8% 0% 3.4 ↑0.5Importance to your future:Work effectively in teams. 57% 36% 7% 0% 3.5 67% 33% 0% 0% 3.7 ↑0.2Develop & reviewproposals & reports. 79% 21% 0% 0% 3.8 75% 17% 0% 8% 3.6 ↓0.2
  15. 15. Clear desire for more writing. 2010 Post Survey Average 2: About 1: Too 3: Too Much Right How much time Little was devoted to: 1. writing 0% 42% 58% 1.4 2. speaking 0% 100% 0% 2.0 3. reading 8% 92% 0% 2.1 4. listening 0% 100% 0% 2.0 5. teaming 33% 67% 0% 2.3 6. tech. content 0% 83% 17% 1.7
  16. 16. 2010 SyllabusWeek 2010 FYS Content & Key Activities 0 pre-orientation & orientation activities 1-2 Intro & overview (team processes, wiki) 3-5 Brainstorm problems & solutions Learn & teach creativity methods (StageGate, peer review) 6-8 Write & pitch concept proposals (2-3 each, 500+ words)9-11 Analyze & define requirements (UML, prototyping, scheduling)12-13 Write elaboration proposals (1 each, 1000+ words) Design & build percussion (teams of 2-4)14-15 Write & pitch venture proposals (teams of 3-4; 3000+ words)
  17. 17. 2011 SyllabusWeek 2011 FYS Content & Key Activities 0 pre-orientation & orientation activities 1-2 Intro & overview (team processes, wiki), brainstorming 3-5 Creativity methods, StageGate, peer review Write & pitch concept proposals (2-3 each, 500+ words) 6-8 Requirements analysis (prototyping, UML) Design & build percussion (teams of 2-4)9-10 Estimation, generate design alternatives Write elaboration proposals (1 each, 1000+ words)11-12 Scheduling, financials, team code of conduct13-16 Write & pitch venture proposals (teams of 3-4; 3000+ words)
  18. 18. SIR-II course evaluation ratings improved from 2010 to 2011. 2010 2011 # responding, # enrolled 12, 14 13, 15 Learning Increased 3.08 3.62 Made Progress Toward Objectives 3.25 3.69 Interest Increased 3.42 3.15 Helped Me Think Independently 3.75 3.46 Actively Involved Me in Learning 3.67 3.92 Outcomes mean 3.43 3.57 Studied and Put In Effort 3.00 3.62 Prepared for Each Class 3.06 3.54 Challenged 3.17 3.38Student Effort & Involvement mean 3.08 3.51
  19. 19. Overall, we are pleased with the FYS, and hope to offer it again in future years.• More examples & rubrics to clarify expectations.• Add more “academic” reading & writing.• Move some discussion to web-based forums.• Design & build percussion instruments earlier.• Allocate more time for teams & later proposals.
  20. 20. Clif Kussmaul (FYS instructor) kussmaul@muhlenberg.eduJane Flood (SIMS PI) flood@muhlenberg.edu This material is based upon work supported in part by NSF Grant DUE-0965834: Scholarships in Math & Science. Any opinions, findings, & conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF.

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