STEM Education Center

 

Modeling: Elicitation, Development, Integration, Assessment-MEDIA

 

The MEDIA Project is an NSF-funded collaborative project between seven major universities: University of Pittsburgh, University of Minnesota, California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, Colorado School of Mines, Pepperdine University, Purdue University, and US Air Force Academy.

The purpose of the research is for the implementation of models and modeling as a foundation for undergraduate STEM curriculum and assessment, especially within engineering domains. To do this, we are building upon and extending Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs), a proven methodology originally developed by mathematics education researchers, and which has been recently introduced to engineering education. These authentic assessment tasks are complex, open-ended problems set in a realistic context with a client. Solutions to MEAs require generalizable procedures, which reveal the thought processes of the students. MEDIA publications.

 

Grant Sponsor:

National Science Foundation

 

Principal Investigator:

Tamara Moore, STEM Education Center

 

Project Personnel:

Gillian Roehrig, STEM Education Center

S. Selcen Guzey, STEM Education Center

Young Rae Kim, STEM Education Center

Micah Stohlmann, STEM Education Center

Mi Sun Park, STEM Education Center

 

The MEDIA (Modeling: Elicitation, Development, Integration, and Assessment) project is a large-scale, four-year, National Science Foundation funded, collaborative research project between seven major universities: University of Pittsburgh, University of Minnesota, US Air Force Academy, Colorado School of Mines, Pepperdine University, Purdue University, and California Polytechnic State University

It is crucial that engineering educators apply effective pedagogical approaches in order to maximize student learning. When considering instructional practice, the beliefs of an educator represent a very important construct in the determination of what and how they teach. This study specifically investigates the impact of faculty involvement in a specific student-centered, active learning classroom practice (Model-Eliciting Activities) on their beliefs about classroom instruction. Specifically, this study is guided by the following research question:

How do faculty beliefs about teaching, learning, and assessment change through the use of Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs)?

The goals of the MEDIA research study are:

  • Investigate what extent faculty alter their understandings and decisions about student learning and curriculum design through implementation of MEAs.
  • Help faculty to write and implement MEAs.
  • Help faculty to set up research studies.
  • Write MEAs for the faculty.

To do this, we are building upon and extending Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs), a proven methodology originally developed by mathematics education researchers, and which has been recently introduced to engineering education. These authentic assessment tasks are complex, open-ended problems set in a realistic context with a client. Solutions to MEAs require generalizable procedures, which reveal the thought processes of the students. The activities are such that the students work in teams of three to four to express their model, test it using sample data, and revise their procedure to meet the needs of their client.

MEAs are realistic, interdisciplinary, team-based, non-routine problems. MEAs are different from the traditional textbook problems in that they are self-assessable, open-ended, and require the construction of models that are shareable, reusable, and generalizable. MEA theory and practice was developed to observe the development of student problem-solving competencies and the growth of mathematical and conceptual cognition. However, it has been increasingly documented as a methodology to help students become better problem solvers, as a tool to help both instructors and researchers better design situations to engage learners in productive conceptual thinking, and as a vehicle for interest and engagement for underrepresented student populations. For this research, we are extending the MEA construct to help repair misconceptions by creating concept MEAs (C-MEAs), to ethical situations by creating ethics MEAs (E-MEAs), and to innovation by creating innovation MEAs (I-MEAs) in order to better understand the various strategies student teams use in approaching these respective concerns.

MEAs are written following six guiding principles:

  • Reality
  • Self-assessment
  • Model documentation
  • Construct share ability and reusability
  • Effective prototype
  • Model construction

“Design experiment” framework is used for this study. Data Collection Instruments include:

  • Online surveys are designed to gain basic demographic data.
  • Semi-structured interviews are conducted to catch the change, if any, in faculty’s beliefs through MEA implementation.
  • Reflective Journals are used to reflect on MEA implementation.
  • Classroom observations are conducted to assess MEA implementation.

Successful completion of this project will provide engineering and STEM educators with an understanding of how students learn to become better problem-solvers including resolving ethical dilemmas, how misconceptions enter into the process (and how they can be repaired) and how to enhance the creative process to produce more innovative engineers. Faculty will be able to better identify areas for learning enhancements and introduce informed curriculum improvements. This should be particularly useful in classroom settings where instructors could determine students’ abilities at various points during the course, intervening when appropriate and enabling students to better understand their areas of weakness. In addition, students will learn to become better problem-solvers and more innovative. Clearly, such results could be extended beyond engineering to other STEM disciplines.

Ph.D. student Scot Hovan implemented MEAs in the classroom, and he won the Tekne award.

 

Contact: Tamara Moore

 

Go to the MEDIA web site.

 

 

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