Professional development program on active learning for engineering faculty in Chile: First stage Academic Article in Scopus uri icon

Abstract

  • © American Society for Engineering Education, 2017.There is a significant need for improvement in undergraduate science and engineering education; accordingly, the same applies for effective professional development for teachers of engineering in Latin America. The need for a change from a teacher-centered to a studentcentered education is becoming an urgent issue. In particular, Chile is investing in funded projects to improve the preparation of future engineers in the country. This work presents preliminary results of an ongoing program of teacher preparation for engineering faculty in a large private university in Chile. The first stage of the project uses Walter and Kautz's (2015) framework to prepare a semester-long program consisting of five workshops (48 hours long) for 20 faculty members. Using a conceptual change approach, the focus of each workshop is the following: 1) Raising awareness within the faculty of the need of active learning to prepare the new generations of students; 2) Introduction to collaborative and active learning strategies; 3) Inquiry-based education; 4) Aligning teaching and assessment; 5) Difficulties on implementing active learning. Each session was designed to emulate active learning dynamics. After each workshop, participants designed and documented the implementation of activities and read various articles related to the workshop topics. The data collected consists of responses to the Approaches to Teaching Inventory (ATI) by two groups of professors. One group consisted of 76 full time professors of the School of Engineering in which the study was conducted. The other group consisted of a subset of 20 faculty members. Some of the faculty members had previous experience in teacher preparation programs that addressed general education strategies, while others had no experience at all with these strategies. Participants responded the ATI at the beginning of the two-day workshop (first group that includes the second one) and at the end of the workshop sequence (second group of faculty only). This paper analyzes the ways in which teachers changed their perspective regarding teaching engineering and their prior teacher preparation. The results showed that for the majority of the faculty members in the program, some who had previous experience and those who did not have any experience, the implementation of active learning and collaborative learning was different from what they previously thought it was. Their perspective of the teaching practice changed, not only by the activities they carried out in the workshops, but also by the activities they designed and implemented in their own classroom.

Publication date

  • June 24, 2017