This proposal is implementing, testing and disseminating new classroom materials for the Introduction to Materials course within the engineering curriculum. These new materials use an active learning, team-based approach based on a pedagogical method from chemistry, called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). Rather than sitting in traditional lectures, students work in teams to complete worksheets that guide them through the process of learning. Students are actively engaged in processing information and have the opportunity to use and develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. The POGIL worksheets for materials science, developed in a prior NSF grant (DUE-0633073), contain the following components: 1) a model or data set that illustrates a particular concept; 2) guided inquiry questions that guide the students to process the model or data and lead them to an understanding of the concept; and 3) exercises and problems that allow them to practice using the concept. These worksheets are being used at four institutions that represent different contexts for their implementation: a large public research university; a medium-sized public Master's degree granting comprehensive university; an HBCU; and a private liberal arts university. Multiple cycles of implementation occur at each site, and the faculty participants work within a community of users through annual project meetings, participation in regional POGIL meetings, and interaction through an electronic discussion board. The effects of POGIL relative to traditional instruction and the different implementation contexts are determined using both formative and summative assessments. These assessment activities include evaluation of learning and implementation goals set by the students and faculty, focus group discussions of implementation, and quantitative assessment of student learning, student perceptions of learning, and community building among the faculty members. The intellectual merit of this project focuses on the implementation and evaluation of this new set of research-based classroom activities for both faculty implementation and student performance. The broader impacts that result from this project include the dissemination of these broadly tested materials for use at other institutions and on the initial development of an extensive community of users.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
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Program Officer
Susan Finger
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University of Florida
United States
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