engineering workshop

Faculty members in the engineering department brainstorm ideas to incorporate active learning in their classrooms during the Active Learning Workshop on Sept. 6.

The first of two Active Learning Workshop Series for faculty members of Iowa State’s engineering department took place Friday.

A variety of engineering department faculty members got together to discuss their opinions and ideas with the goal to create a more engaging classroom for their students to learn more efficiently.

The organizers of the workshop event are Associate Professor Monica Lamm and Assistant Professor Shan Jiang, who have similar ambitions to help professors develop more active teaching methods in the classroom.

“Lately here in my career I've been focusing on different aspects related to teaching and learning including some engineering education research,” Lamm said. “I met Shan through the CELT, which is the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching, so I was his senior partner or manageable rep, so a lot of that was the inspiration for sharing Shan’s story.”

Shan discussed his journey discovering interest in teaching and how he eventually set out to develop ways to become better at delivering knowledge and his message to the students.

“What I want to say is that I gradually realized that education is really not what comes out from the mouths of us instructors, it's really what students receive, it's what happens to the other person, so I think that's a perspective change,” Jiang said.

Shan had the faculty members sit in groups where they engaged in group discussions. They shared ideas with each other and then presented them to the rest of the room, similar to what you might see with students in a classroom.

One idea that came up was the new scratch off scantrons for quizzes and how they are meant for students to use either alone or in a group. When a student scratches an answer it will reveal whether the choice is right or wrong.

Each faculty member had intentions to incorporate new ideas in their classrooms for the future to improve the learning of their students.

Shan went on to further explain the purpose of these workshops and what his plans are for future workshops.

“By doing this actually opens the door to another wonderful technique I'm going to talk about next workshop is how we conduct teaching,” Shan said. “What's most important is not just deliver their message to the student, but to discover where they really don't understand.”

This was the first workshop series this semester, the next is set for Oct. 6.

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