Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education

Lead Institution: Auburn University, Auburn, AL

Collaborating Institutions: U.S. and international companies; universities, high schools, camps, industries; Hampton University researches effects of implementation; University of West Georgia provides external evaluation

Category: Course/Curricular

Date Implemented: August 1996

Website: www.litee.org

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Program Description: LITEE is a collaborative effort between the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering (P.K. Raju, Director) and College of Business (Chetan Sankar, Co-director) that disseminates cutting-edge instructional materials and strategies to undergraduate classrooms. Through case studies and hands-on projects, LITEE works to enhance the skills of engineering students by developing their decision-making, leadership, communication, and holistic problem-solving skills, providing an opportunity to apply technical skills to solve practical problems. LITEE works with industrial partners to identify a problem and bring it alive in the classroom by creating a multimedia case study. Faculty and graduate students from the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Management, Psychology, and Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology collaborate to create case studies, implement them in department courses, and evaluate their effectiveness. Each case study is tested for pedagogy and content with faculty and students at different institutions. Eighteen case studies have been developed and are being used at 60 US colleges and universities as a result of the LITEE Case Study National Dissemination Project, through which instructors are chosen to test case studies in their classrooms and publish their findings. Over 10,000 engineering students have been impacted, and LITEE conducts workshops to give over 1,000 faculty and instructors hands-on experience with cases to help better utilize them. LITEE includes a generic instructional strategy that can be adapted to teach a wide range of courses using case studies. The instructional strategy steps are: develop a course map identifying the required content of a particular course, the capabilities students are expected to develop in it, and how the case study can best be used to teach the content and achieve the expected capabilities; use the course map and new instructional strategy to teach the course, including preparation, application, and assessment; and evaluate the effectiveness of the implementation and refine the strategy as necessary. LITEE also conducts a U.S.-India Research Program, providing students with a rich cultural and research experience working on a problem, with the results transformed into case studies showcasing global engineering issues.

Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: The instructional strategy was expected to increase students’ engineering self-efficacy, or confidence in their engineering abilities, which would lead to better performance in the classroom and an increase in the retention of engineering students. The team also anticipated an increase in students’ perception of their own higher-order cognitive and team working skills. Finally, they hoped for an improvement in students’ grades. The results thus far show that students, especially female and minority students, in sections using LITEE case studies tend to consider that their higher-order cognitive skills and team working skills have improved significantly, as has their intention to stay in engineering programs. Longitudinal evaluation has shown that students from these groups also tend to have higher college grade point averages. These results suggest that the LITEE curriculum employed for the engineering students leads to improved student learning and advancement in engineering. Additionally, the undergraduate and graduate students who participated in the development of the LITEE curriculum and are now working in industry overwhelmingly report that their interpersonal skills, written communication skills, presentation skills, leadership skills, team-working skills, and project management skills had all improved.

Assessment Information: The LITEE team embarked on a systematic evaluation of the instructional strategy using an evaluation team composed of statistical and education experts. Several multimedia case studies were developed and used as a primary instructional mode in Auburn freshman engineering classes over a 2-year period. Answers to survey questions provided by students in the comparison and experimental groups were compared to determine whether there were any significant differences in achieving the needed learning outcomes. Students were longitudinally tracked in order to determine the impact, if any, of this innovative teaching approach on their GPA. The longitudinal evaluation revealed markedly higher GPAs for students from the experimental classes, as well as higher acceptance rates into professional programs (mechanical, electrical, etc.) within the College of Engineering. These results suggest that an instructional approach using multimedia case studies is indeed an innovation that leads to improved student learning and advancement in engineering.

Funding/Sustainability: The program has been funded by NSF and industry support. Approximately $3.5 million has been used to design, develop, and implement the program. The LITEE team also trains doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate students in conducting research on engineering education. To date, the team has trained more than 80 undergraduate, 40 master’s, and 8 doctoral students. The program received a five-year $3 million IGERT grant from NSF to expand the curriculum to teach graduate students real-world issues. In addition, LITEE is currently working with a private company, Toolwire, Inc., to develop immersive scenarios based on the multimedia case studies. In order to promote scholarship in STEM education and disseminate research results, LITEE publishes the Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research (www.jstem.org). The Journal features high-quality case studies and research articles that showcase the latest in STEM education research.



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Laboratory for Innovative Technology and Engineering Education Lead Institution: Auburn University, Auburn, AL Collaborating Institutions: U.S. and international companies; universities, high schools, camps, industries; Hampton University researches effects of implementation; University of West Georgia provides external evaluation Category: Course/Curricular Date Implemented: August 1996 Website: www.litee.org Program Description: LITEE is a collaborative effort between the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering (P.K. Raju, Director) and College of Business (Chetan Sankar, Co-director) that significantly, as has their intention to stay in engineering disseminates cutting-edge instructional materials and strategies programs. Longitudinal evaluation has shown that students to undergraduate classrooms. Through case studies and hands- from these groups also tend to have higher college grade point on projects, LITEE works to enhance the skills of engineering averages. These results suggest that the LITEE curriculum students by developing their decision-making, leadership, employed for the engineering students leads to improved communication, and holistic problem-solving skills, providing student learning and advancement in engineering. Additionally, an opportunity to apply technical skills to solve the undergraduate and graduate students who partici- practical problems. LITEE works with industrial pated in the development of the LITEE curriculum and partners to identify a problem and bring it alive in the are now working in industry overwhelmingly report classroom by creating a multimedia case study. that their interpersonal skills, written communication Faculty and graduate students from the Departments of skills, presentation skills, leadership skills, team- Mechanical Engineering, Management, Psychology, working skills, and project management skills had all and Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Tech- improved . nology collaborate to create case studies, implement Assessment Information: The LITEE team embarked them in department courses, and evaluate their on a systematic evaluation of the instructional strategy effectiveness. Each case study is tested for pedagogy and using an evaluation team composed of statistical and education content with faculty and students at different institutions. experts. Several multimedia case studies were developed and Eighteen case studies have been developed and are being used used as a primary instructional mode in Auburn freshman at 60 US colleges and universities as a result of the LITEE Case engineering classes over a 2-year period. Answers to survey Study National Dissemination Project, through which instruc- questions provided by students in the comparison and experi- tors are chosen to test case studies in their classrooms and mental groups were compared to determine whether there were publish their findings. Over 10,000 engineering students have any significant differences in achieving the needed learning been impacted, and LITEE conducts workshops to give over outcomes. Students were longitudinally tracked in order to 1,000 faculty and instructors hands-on experience with cases to determine the impact, if any, of this innovative teaching help better utilize them. LITEE includes a generic instructional approach on their GPA. The longitudinal evaluation revealed strategy that can be adapted to teach a wide range of courses markedly higher GPAs for students from the experimental using case studies. The instructional strategy steps are: develop classes, as well as higher acceptance rates into professional a course map identifying the required content of a particular programs (mechanical, electrical, etc.) within the College of course, the capabilities students are expected to develop in it, Engineering. These results suggest that an instructional ap- and how the case study can best be used to teach the content proach using multimedia case studies is indeed an innovation and achieve the expected capabilities; use the course map and that leads to improved student learning and advancement in new instructional strategy to teach the course, including engineering. preparation, application, and assessment; and evaluate the Funding/Sustainability: The program has been funded by NSF effectiveness of the implementation and refine the strategy as and industry support. Approximately $3.5 million has been necessary. LITEE also conducts a U.S.-India Research Pro- used to design, develop, and implement the program. The gram, providing students with a rich cultural and research LITEE team also trains doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate experience working on a problem, with the results transformed students in conducting research on engineering education. To into case studies showcasing global engineering issues. date, the team has trained more than 80 undergraduate, 40 Anticipated and Actual Outcomes: The instructional strategy master’s, and 8 doctoral students. The program received a five- was expected to increase students’ engineering self-efficacy, or year $3 million IGERT grant from NSF to expand the curricu- confidence in their engineering abilities, which would lead to lum to teach graduate students real-world issues. In addition, better performance in the classroom and an increase in the LITEE is currently working with a private company, Toolwire, retention of engineering students. The team also anticipated an Inc., to develop immersive scenarios based on the multimedia increase in students’ perception of their own higher-order case studies. In order to promote scholarship in STEM educa- cognitive and team working skills. Finally, they hoped for an tion and disseminate research results, LITEE publishes the improvement in students’ grades. The results thus far show that Journal of STEM Education: Innovations and Research students, especially female and minority students, in sections (www.jstem.org). The Journal features high-quality case studies using LITEE case studies tend to consider that their higher- and research articles that showcase the latest in STEM educa- order cognitive skills and team working skills have improved tion research. 17