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Engineering students’ experiences of interactive teaching in calculus
KTH, School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), Learning, Organisation and leadership.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3027-514X
KTH, School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), Learning.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4677-1498
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Mathematics (Dept.).ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1755-3640
2016 (English)In: Higher Education Research and Development, ISSN 0729-4360, E-ISSN 1469-8366, 1-14 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This study reports on an educational development initiative where peer instruction was used instead of traditional lectures in a calculus course for first-year engineering students. The aim of the study was to explore students’ experiences of this method. Data were collected by means of an open-ended questionnaire on two occasions: early and late in the course. The data were analyzed with an inductive content analysis. The findings comprise three qualitatively different ways to experience the interactive teaching method in calculus: (1) enthusiasm, (2) nuanced skepticism and (3) aversion. The categories differed regarding emotional reactions to the teaching, experiences of learning, conceptions of teaching and learning, and experiences of meaningfulness. Many students expressed enthusiasm for learning with peer instruction and noted that the method gave both teachers and students feedback on what students have difficulties with. These students perceived that they were responsible for their own learning. Other students experienced that peer instruction had some advantages and disadvantages, and preferred a mix between traditional lectures and peer instruction sessions. They seemed to believe that teachers and students share responsibility for learning. Some students expressed an aversion for peer instruction and the method seemed to challenge their beliefs of how teaching and learning is best conducted. Our study illustrates that educational development initiatives, even though based on research on student learning, do not benefit all students. One of the major obstacles seems to be that students’ underlying beliefs regarding teaching and learning may be counterproductive to the ideas behind the educational initiative. We suggest that beliefs regarding teaching and learning need to be addressed when introducing new teaching and learning methods.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2016. 1-14 p.
Keyword [en]
Active learning, calculus teaching, engineering education, higher education, peer instruction, student engagement, teaching methods
National Category
Educational Sciences
Research subject
Education and Communication in the Technological Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-193334DOI: 10.1080/07294360.2016.1238880OAI: diva2:1010120

QC 20161003

Available from: 2016-10-01 Created: 2016-10-01 Last updated: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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