Image of students working on laptops in groups.

The Office of Teaching, Learning & Technology (OTLT) collaborates with instructors on research studies about how our programs and services support student learning outcomes. Faculty members can then use these scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) outcomes to make more informed decisions about whether to change their course design and delivery strategies.

OTLT Director of Assessment Sam Van Horne recently partnered with Associate Professor of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Julie Jessop to conduct research about student learning outcomes in TILE classrooms. After she first taught Process Calculations during the Fall 2012 semester, Jessop re-designed the course to include more collaborative learning activities for the Fall 2013 and Fall 2014 courses, which were taught in the active-learning TILE classrooms. Jessop also secured additional instructional support from her department to facilitate the collaborative activities in TILE.

Although she saw an improvement in student performance in the TILE courses in Fall ’13 and ‘14, Jessop also wanted to determine whether her TILE students were also succeeding in “downstream” courses. So Jessop and Van Horne collaboratively designed a study to:  1) survey students in downstream courses to learn about how prepared they were for the downstream course, and 2) examine the course grades in downstream courses to determine whether the TILE students were faring as well as those who had taken her class before she started teaching in TILE.  

The research results confirmed that students in the 2014 cohort were more likely than those in the 2013 cohort to believe that the TILE class had prepared them for other courses in chemical engineering. The analysis of learning outcomes also suggests that the TILE students are performing as well as the pre-TILE students in downstream courses.

“Working with OTLT to conduct quantitative assessment has enabled me to advocate more successfully for collaborative learning by enabling me to provide more than anecdotal evidence to convince my students, colleagues, and advisory board that this change in pedagogy is worth the effort,” Jessop says.   

Results of the research will be presented at an upcoming conference of the American Society for Engineering Education.

Transform, Interact, Learn, Engage(TILE): tile.uiowa.edu