About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 8882-8892
Publication year: 2019
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.2205

Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain


M. Koretsky1, S. Nolen2, B. Self3, C. Papadopoulos4, J. Widmann3, M. Prince5, D. Dal Bello6

1Oregon State University (UNITED STATES)
2University of Washington (UNITED STATES)
3California Polytechnic State University (UNITED STATES)
4University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez (UNITED STATES)
5Bucknell University (UNITED STATES)
6Allan Hancock College (UNITED STATES)
We present the process for developing content for the Concept Warehouse (CW), a technology-based tool to facilitate concept-based active learning in mechanical engineering. Concept-based active learning has been shown to improve student performance, especially for traditionally underrepresented students, and to increase academic retention of students in STEM programs. The CW was originally constructed for chemical engineering (ChE) and provides three distinct but complementary functions:
(a) a content repository,
(b) an audience response system to deliver content, and
(c) learning analytics that provide data to instructors and researchers.

Content in the form of approximately 3,000 ConcepTests, 10 research-based Concept Inventories, and several Inquiry-Based Activities and Virtual Laboratories are now available for ChE. After ~4 years of existence, over 1,000 faculty members at over 150 institutions across the US and internationally are using it.

High quality content is critical for effective concept-based instruction. While most of the original content in the CW was specific to ChE, the software design is general and there is opportunity to leverage the development work and apply this tool to any STEM discipline. We report on a project to develop high-quality conceptual questions (conceptests) for two core mechanical engineering courses, statics and dynamics. Each course has a Course Lead and a corresponding Course Team consisting of 3-4 individuals. The Project Leaders and the Course Teams met for a two-day workshop to develop a shared understanding of how to construct high-quality questions for mechanical engineering faculty to use in statics and dynamics courses.

One of the seven overarching principles for question-design (Koretsky et al., 2014), is the Emergent Use Principle: The tool should provide versatility in how questions can be deployed in instruction so that instructors can use them in ways that best fit their beliefs and context. Correspondingly, questions should enable faculty to intersperse formative assessment during more traditional lecture, but also enable those who take a question-cycle (Beatty et al., 2006) approach. In this approach, questions become a central tool of instruction and class time is spent around discussion, arguing, and sense-making. Use of the tool can also include having students write justifications to their selected multiple-choice answer, preparing them to engage in discussion. Thus, the questions are inherently tools of learning through engagement and interaction mediated by the instructor.

Consequently, the nature of effective questions for concept-based active learning can be quite different than those used in formal summative assessments (e.g., concept inventories, standardized tests).

Question development by the Teams is facilitated by explicitly identifying three goals:
• Content goal: What disciplinary concept or big idea do we want to illuminate?
• Process goal: How must the students use the concept/big idea? What cognitive skills do we want students to exercise?
• Epistemological goal: What ideas about learning and doing engineering do we wish to reinforce?

We present questions with similar content goals but different process and epistemological goals to illustrate the ways question design and intent of instruction interact.

[1] Beatty, I. D et al. (2006). American journal of physics, 74(1), 31-39.
[2] Koretsky, M.D et al. (2014). Advances in Engineering Education, 4(1).
author = {Koretsky, M. and Nolen, S. and Self, B. and Papadopoulos, C. and Widmann, J. and Prince, M. and Dal Bello, D.},
series = {11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies},
booktitle = {EDULEARN19 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-09-12031-4},
issn = {2340-1117},
doi = {10.21125/edulearn.2019.2205},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/edulearn.2019.2205},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Palma, Spain},
month = {1-3 July, 2019},
year = {2019},
pages = {8882-8892}}
AU - M. Koretsky AU - S. Nolen AU - B. Self AU - C. Papadopoulos AU - J. Widmann AU - M. Prince AU - D. Dal Bello
SN - 978-84-09-12031-4/2340-1117
DO - 10.21125/edulearn.2019.2205
PY - 2019
Y1 - 1-3 July, 2019
CI - Palma, Spain
JO - 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
JA - EDULEARN19 Proceedings
SP - 8882
EP - 8892
ER -
M. Koretsky, S. Nolen, B. Self, C. Papadopoulos, J. Widmann, M. Prince, D. Dal Bello (2019) FOR SYSTEMATIC DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPTESTS FOR ACTIVE LEARNING, EDULEARN19 Proceedings, pp. 8882-8892.