This study examines the impact of an NSF-funded professional development program on instructors' attitudes towards, and use of, student-centered learning practices in engineering undergraduate courses. The project launched during spring 2016 and involves promoting communities of practice within engineering disciplines and delivering a series of train-the-trainer workshops to the engineering faculty. The workshops strongly promote tenets of studentcentered learning and active engagement practices in the classroom. As part of the overall program evaluation, multiple assessments were administered throughout the workshop series. Since self-reported practices can be biased, ongoing classroom observations were also conducted to determine actual classroom practices of the instructors. For this study, we focused on the comparison of beliefs about student-centered instruction and observed practices. We provide a point-in-time analysis of the relationship between beliefs and use of active learning practices of the faculty participants in the professional development program. Beliefs were assessed with the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI). The ATI is a survey that measures the extent of faculty teaching beliefs toward teacher-centered (TC) knowledge transmission vs. student-centered (SC) conceptual change. While the ATI measured beliefs, the degree to which classroom practices were student-centered was assessed via classroom visits by trained observers using the Reformed Teaching Observational Protocol (RTOP). The RTOP is a classroom observation protocol that was designed specifically for STEM classrooms and it allows observers to quantify the degree of student-centered teaching and learning occurring during a lesson. Results indicated no significant correlations between ATI SC scores and RTOP scores. Correspondingly, no significant relationship existed between average ATI TC scores and overall RTOP scores. However, we did observe significant shifts in attitudes towards student-centered practices through pre- and post-ATI scores comparison. A discussion of the implications of these findings is presented.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings|
|State||Published - Jun 24 2017|
ASJC Scopus subject areas