To supplement lectures, various resources are available to students; however, little research has been done to look systematically at which resources studies find most useful and the frequency at which they are used. We have conducted a preliminary study looking at various resources available in an introductory material science course over four semesters using a custom survey called the Student Resource Value Survey (SRVS). More specifically, the SRVS was administered before each test to determine which resources students use to do well on exams. Additionally, over the course of the semester, which resources students used changed. For instance, study resources for exams including the use of homework problems decreased from 81% to 50%, the utilization of teaching assistant for exam studying increased from 25% to 80%, the use of in class Muddiest Points for exam study increased form 28% to 70%, old exams and quizzes only slightly increased for exam study ranging from 78% to 87%, and the use of drop-in tutoring services provided to students at no charge decreased from 25% to 17%. The data suggest that students thought highly of peer interactions by using those resources more than tutoring centers. To date, no research has been completed looking at courses at the department level or a different discipline. To this end, we adapted the SRVS administered in material science to investigate resource use in thirteen biomedical engineering (BME) courses. Here, we assess the following research question: "From a variety of resources, which do biomedical engineering students feel addresses difficult concept areas, prepares them for examinations, and helps in computer-aided design (CAD) and programming the most and with what frequency?" The resources considered include teaching assistants, classroom notes, prior exams, homework problems, Muddiest Points, office hours, tutoring centers, group study, and the course textbook. Results varied across the four topical areas: exam study, difficult concept areas, CAD software, and math-based programming. When preparing for exams and struggling with a learning concept, the most used and useful resources were: 1) homework problems, 2) class notes and 3) group studying. When working on math-based programming (Matlab and Mathcad) as well as computer-aided design, the most used and useful resources were: 1) group studying, 2) engineering tutoring center, and 3) undergraduate teaching assistants. Concerning learning concepts and exams in the BME department, homework problems and class notes were considered some of the highest-ranking resources for both frequency and usefulness. When comparing to the pilot study in MSE, both BME and MSE students tend to highly favor peer mentors and old exams as a means of studying for exams at the end of the semester1. Because the MSE course only considered exams, we cannot make any comparisons to BME data concerning programming and CAD. This analysis has highlighted potential resources that are universally beneficial, such as the use of peer work, i.e. group studying, engineering tutoring center, and teaching assistants; however, we see differences by both discipline and topical area thereby highlighting the need to determine important resources on a class-by-class basis as well.
- Assessment of Student Responses to Various Resources Offered in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science Courses
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