Strategies and tools for engaging and assessing students with Cyber Learning by Interactive Frequent Formative Feedback (CLIFF) in core materials classes

Stephen Krause, Jacquelyn E. Kelly, Dale R. Baker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


In this paper we are first reporting on the effects on student attitude, learning, and persistence of an active learning project, Just-in-Time-Teaching with Interactive Learning (JiTTIL). We will then discuss how the associated strategies and tools used in the JiTTIL project will be adapted to an interactive cyber-enabled web environment. In the web environment real-time data on student understanding can be collected in the classroom followed by fast formative feedback to students to promote their learning. In the JiTTIL project strategies and tools were developed to promote student engagement in introductory materials classes based on three major principles from the book, How People Learn. The first principle is that instructors should be aware of and utilize students' prior knowledge to inform instruction. Prior knowledge and misconceptions are assessed at semester beginning with a Materials Concept Inventory (MCI) while conceptual change is assessed at semester end by giving the MCI again and calculating conceptual gains. More detail on misconceptions and conceptual gain for five specific topics was determined with pre-post topical concept quizzes. The second principle is for instructors to actively engage students with one another to promote development of their own deep conceptual of content and a framework for understanding, recalling, and using that knowledge. One tool for this is clicker questions, for which 104 multiple-choice questions were created that cover the nine course topics. Another tool to promote conceptual development is a set of Homework Preview Problem Concept Map Quizzes where students must fill in blanks on diagrams of conceptual connections of materials structure and properties. Also, to engage students in content from mini-lectures, engagement activities were created for every class. Finally, the third principle is for instructors to foster student metacognition. This was done with an end-of-class Reflection Points question set that requests students to briefly describe (anonymously) their own class points of: interest; muddiness; and learning about learning. An instructor can use responses to give feedback immediately at the beginning of the next class to address students' muddy points or other issues. Compared to lecture-based pedagogy, the JiTTIL constructivist pedagogy: increased average conceptual gain (measured by the Materials Concept Inventory) from 18% to 42%; increased class persistence from 85% to 95%; and decreased female withdrawal rate from 40% to 10%. A fall 2011 exit survey found 80% to 90% of students felt their learning was supported by teaching strategies of team-based problem solving, discussions, and hands-on activities. Affective factor survey results found that: 1) 88% of the students felt the class increased their interest in continuing in their own major; 2) 65% felt instructional strategies were more motivating than those in other classes; 2) 77% felt material learned will be of value to them after graduation in career or grad school; 3) 92% felt the course helped them see the relevance of engineering to real-world needs; and 4) 84% would recommend the course to a friend. This paper then describes how strategies and tools of the JiTTIL project will be implemented via the web in a Cyber Learning with Interactive Frequent Formative Feedback (CLIFF) project. After implementation, the effectiveness of the cyber-enabled web pedagogy will be studied and compared with the JiTTIL approach to determine the impact on student outcomes and on the ease of implementation and use of the strategies and tools by the instructor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
PublisherAmerican Society for Engineering Education
ISBN (Print)9780878232413
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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