The overarching goal for the Adapting an Experiment-centric Teaching Approach to Increase Student Achievement in Multiple STEM Disciplines (ETA-STEM) project is to adopt evidence based, high impact pedagogical techniques that have been successful in promoting motivation and enhancing achievement among African Americans in STEM fields. The primary high impact pedagogy that will be adopted in this project is the successful Experimental Centric based Instructional Pedagogy (ECP) - formerly referred to as Mobile Hands-On Studio Technology and Pedagogy. Under the Development and Implementation Tier for Engaged Student Learning (Level II), this project seeks to develop, implement and assess the evidenced based active ECP that have increased achievement among African Americans in electrical engineering.
The project is being adapted across STEM disciplines (civil engineering, industrial engineering, transportation systems, biology, computer science, chemistry, and physics) at Morgan State University. The project entails a widespread adoption/diffusion of this active learning pedagogy through the development of new curriculum to utilize portable hands-on mobile devices, targeting selected cohorts of students from their freshman to senior year.
The following information includes an outline of the present activities and planned activities, and an analysis of the reflections of stakeholders on the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the implementation of grant activities.
Activities supporting the IUSE ETA STEM grant initiative started in the Fall of 2019 and continued through March 2020, where they were adapted and rescheduled because of the COVID- 19 pandemic. Development of multidisciplinary experiential learning opportunities in STEM is
central to the work of the grant initiative. Plans for updating and creating new modules for courses supported by the IUSE ETA STEM grant will be continued in June 2020. Currently, the university has a plan to inform and engage key stakeholders through an interactive, user-friendly online
database system. This interaction will help develop plans for the Fall semester. According to administrators, workshops will be conducted through a virtual training for the ADALM2000, an active learning tool using an experiment-centric pedagogy. Selection and documentation of courses for each semester using a template and course change matrix will be decided.
Moving IUSE Course work/labs to online and virtual learning.
Some changes focused specifically on the platform that would be needed for experiments/projects that utilized “the boards” provided through the grant. According to faculty, curriculum adapted fairly easily to these platforms, and they were able to make sure all content was covered. One change to the online courses that needed to be worked out was the need to develop online student teams for students to work collaboratively. They also noted that the online projects focused more on theory than exact outcomes of experiments. Students had to imagine some of the outputs (based on what they had done before the March break) and combine it with the virtual outcomes they experienced online. Another example of adapting courses to the online modality was how to modify labs, typically those done in face-to-face settings, with scientific lab equipment. In one situation, the class used a free app that students were able to download onto cellphones to gather data. The app allowed students to display and examine the data according. Faculty noted that this will serve as an interesting experiment in the fall when they return to face-to-face labs, they will be able to have some interesting data to compare data that was gathered via the cell phone app and data that was gathered in the lab, under a more controlled setting with the traditional instrumentation.
Faculty noted that their courses were typically hybrid so moving them to be 100% online/virtual was not as difficult as it could have been otherwise. Many of the courses and labs that were part of IUSE had already had some form of online learning embedded within them. Faculty noted that as they monitored the situation with the pandemic they realized in late February and early March that they would most likely need to move entirely online and began to reach out to vendors to help assist them in doing so.