SEIRI Seed Grants

Title: Increasing the Use and Effectiveness of Peer-Led Team Learning Workshops in Engineering

Investigators: Eric Adams (PI); Christine Krull; Steven James; Zachary Bart

Abstract: The increasing popularity of STEM majors at IUPUI has increased class sizes in core introductory classes throughout the School of Engineering and Technology. For example, in Engineering Thermodynamics, Statics, and Dynamics (ME 20000, 27000, and 274000) lecture classes of over 100 students have been the norm for several years. The traditional recitation accompanying these lectures was overburdened. As a result, in 2016, the School piloted Peer Lead Team Learning in the Biomechanical Engineering Department (BME 22000 and BME 24100) and the Mechanical Engineering Department (ME 20000). In preliminary results, over 80% of the students prefer the PLTL format to a larger traditional recitation. Student grades linked to workshop attendance, with attendance for “A” students statistically significantly higher than “C” students.

Student retention is a key goal for the School of Engineering and Technology. The introductory classes are traditionally ones with the highest drop/fail rates within the School of Engineering and Technology. The 2-year retention rate for direct admitted students for IUPUI School of Engineering and Technology was 61% for 2012 admits, 59% for 2013 admits, and 62% for 2014 admits. A goal of 5% to 10% increased retention can be achieved by school initiatives including the increased use of PLTL.

We propose to increase the use of PLTL within the School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, to document both student success and the development of the student workshop leaders. PLTL workshops have been used previously in the sciences but to a much smaller extent within engineering. The proposed work will broaden Engineering participation in PLTL workshops by increasing the number of courses participating from 2 per semester to 4-5 per semester. The work will strengthen the education foundation of the workshops by creating a team leadership course. The work will encourage other classes and institutions to successfully use this format. The work will prepare the team for proposals to NSF for further concept development and dissemination.
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Title: Engineering-Science Intellectual Property Project (ESIP-Project)

Investigators: Jie Chen (PI); Hamid Piroozi; Charles Feldhaus; Xuan-Thao Ngoc Nguyen

Abstract: In the idea economy, intellectual property (IP) is valued higher than other assets such as factories and equipment. Affirmation of this valuation is often observed when a company’s IP advances or declines which causes a seismic shift in its stock price. IP law, however, is exceedingly complicated. As a result, new engineering and science graduates take many years, if ever, before they are familiar with the process of securing IP. Lack of such familiarity often results in IP being an after-thought in design processes. While others have attempted to discuss IP as part of a larger entrepreneurship setting in the form of a brief introduction of various IP vehicles, a solid understanding of what is protectable requires more than simply a passing knowledge. A novel and practical educational program titled Engineering-Science Intellectual Property Project (ESIP-Project) is designed to generate a deep understanding of IP requirements for creating novel, nonobvious, and non-infringing designs that can be developed faster and with higher quality. The ESIP-Project pilot program includes three elective courses that together create an IP concentration in an engineering BS curriculum, with each course requiring a deep dive into IP concepts in engineering design. At the culmination of this pilot program, students will be well poised to take and pass the patent bar examination and to become certified and practice patent law before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In each of these courses, the students will prepare designs in accordance with a new pedagogical approach of teaching engineering, technology, and science which uses IP as a starting point that can provide a career-long benefit and generate a transformational shift in STEM education. The ESIP-Project is also designed to create a transdisciplinary nexus of collaboration between engineering, technology, science, and law students and will be expanded after successful completion of this pilot program. Graduates of the ESIP-Project, will have new career options including becoming patent engineers and patent agents, in addition to the traditional technical career choice.

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Title: Normalizing Computation in Undergraduate Physics Curriculum

Investigators: Yogesh Joglekar (PI); Gautam Vemuri

Abstract: Physics is, by definition, the most fundamental of all empirical sciences. It involves uncovering the rules by which the real world around us – ranging in scale from astronomical to sub-atomic – behaves, and understanding their consequences in their full majesty, including their predicative ability. To develop this ability, the undergraduate physics curriculum has largely focused on analytical and experimental methods. The objective of this project is to make computational approach an omnipresent and integral part of the undergraduate physics curriculum. Bold goals such as this require innovative approaches. Rather than relying on a "computational methods" course (as many departments do), we aim to suffuse the curriculum – every undergraduate physics course – with modules that inculcate a computational mindset. Our end goal is to make the use of computational tools as much of a second nature for these students as using a calculator or the quadratic equation. This intervention will be aimed at all students (physics majors and minors). We will evaluate the effectiveness of our work by using a mixed-methods approach with the help of SEIRI experts. Once completed, this project will benefit all our students, undergraduate majors and graduate students alike. By deepening the connection between physics and “the real world” we may be able to increase the number of students choosing a physics major. Further, our students will graduate with a set of skills that goes beyond what is typically offered in a physics department, and which will greatly benefit them regardless of the career they choose.

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Title: Integrated Learning for Undergraduate Students in Computer Information Technology

Investigators: Xiao Luo (PI); Connie Justice

Abstract: The National Research Council’s report "Discipline-Based Education Research: Understanding and Improving Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering" (2012) recommends that “More investigations are needed of teaching and learning across multiple courses in a discipline” and states that “cross-sectional studies of multiple courses within a discipline, or of all courses in a major, would enhance the understanding of how people learn the concepts, practices, and ways of thinking of science and engineering and of the nature and development of expertise in a discipline.”(p. 202). The objectives of the proposed study, Integrated Learning for undergraduate students in Computer Information and Graphics Technology (CIGT) through Cross-Curricular Instruction Units and Projects, referred as Cross-Curricular I-UP, include understanding the cognitive process of undergraduate students in connecting and transferring knowledge from one setting to another, improving undergraduate students’ expertise in one subject by reinforcing the learning through cross-curricular projects, and assisting students to obtain the big picture of information technology through using innovative cross-curricular integration pedagogies. This project is the first to study the integrated learning in undergraduate STEM education through cross-curricular integrated units of instruction and projects. This project will investigate two types of integrated units of instruction and three inquiry levels based integration oriented projects across two contexts connected courses taught in parallel. To evaluate the success and barriers of the project, interviews and surveys will be taken with students and then qualitative and quantitative analysis will be applied to understand the development of students’ self-reported skills on connecting and transferring knowledge from one setting to another, confidence on solving cross-disciplinary problems, and the understanding of big picture of information technology.

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Title: Research-Based Implementation of CUREs in Biology

Investigators: Kathleen Marrs (PI); James Marrs

Abstract: Incorporating authentic research experiences into the undergraduate life science experience through the implementation of CUREs (course-based undergraduate research experiences) has been championed as a mechanism to provide a large numbers of students with access to the known benefits of undergraduate research. CUREs meet national calls for improvement of the undergraduate curriculum, allowing a wide variety of students to experience how science is done, and recent research indicates that CUREs have the benefit of increasing student persistence, motivation, identity, and success. Our Biology Department has made a number of significant advances towards these goals in recent years by implementing semester-long CUREs related to the use of model organisms (Zebrafish, C. elegans, blowflies) to study models human disease and genomics. Starting first with freshman introductory biology honors labs, we are moving towards the use of CUREs in cell biology, genetics and microbiology labs. While transformation and change is happening within our department, we have not yet undertaken a comprehensive evaluation of the aspects of CUREs that are necessary to achieve desired student outcomes, or evaluated our efforts at departmental transformation in any systematic way.

The objectives of this proposal are to (1) build on our department’s efforts in the last 3.5 years to incorporate CUREs into a variety of freshman, sophomore, junior laboratory courses, culminating with the senior research capstone (2) achieve the coordination of CUREs that span a common research topic throughout multiple courses in the undergraduate curriculum (3) implement recommendations and develop expertise for utilizing more varied assessment tools and strategies to assess how CUREs are correlated with student learning gains at IUPUI and (4) assess faculty perceptions of curricular gains from participation in CUREs as a way to move towards departmental change as well as bridging faculty teaching and research expectations.

The foundational pieces to reach these objectives are now in place. The PI of this proposal serves nationally as a faculty member charged with stimulating department-level transformation in life sciences education. The department has recently launched a postdoctoral teaching program and a departmental transformation plan to help meet the life science education reform recommendations. In the past 4 years, 8 biology faculty members key to our undergraduate teaching mission, including postdoctoral scholars, lecturers and professors of all ranks, have participated in the HHMI Summer Institutes. A novel aspect of this proposal is that we are fully in a position to assess the effects CUREs on student outcomes, departmental change efforts and outcomes, and can move swiftly towards assessment and research findings. The broader impacts from this proposal will allow us to evaluate both evidence-based and evidence-generating approaches towards understanding STEM learning, as well departmental transformation efforts that will be needed for future national funding efforts for this work to continue.

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Title: Development of a Peer-Led Undergraduate Research Initiative (PLURI) Module in Organic Chemistry Teaching Laboratory

Investigators: Robert Minto (PI); Sébastien Laulhé

Abstract: We will implement a pilot Peer-Led Undergraduate Research Initiative (PLURI) to improve retention of undergraduate students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Specifically, the aim of PLURI is to develop and test modules that have the potential of expanding the involvement of undergraduate students into authentic course-based research projects within the framework of the teaching laboratories. Our PLURI project is distinctive, in that it contains integrated and immersive research and educational experiences within a single module. Peer teaching assistants (PTAs) will actively guide research projects, while students through their in class research will contribute to the project design, data collection, and analysis. Both the students and the PTAs, which are together the targeted participants, will be exposed to the application of the scientific method and critical thinking strategies to help advance an undiluted research project. We will study the effectiveness of the proposed PLURI project in retaining undergraduate students in STEM fields, engaging them in research projects, and influencing attitudinal changes (career interests, affinity for science, improved appreciation for the realities of scientific research). If the model can be successfully implemented, we will develop additional research modules over the next few years and we expect to disseminate our findings at both research and education conferences, as we believe our model could be generalized and adopted by both peer institutions and primarily undergraduate institutions (PUI) as a way to enhance the educational experience and increase their research capacity.

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Title: Improving Engagement in Online Education Using Guided Inquiry Learning in the Health Information Management Courses

Investigators: Saptarshi Purkayastha (PI); Lisa DesNoyers; Alisa Hayes

Abstract: Through this SEIRI seed grant, we propose to pilot path-breaking changes in HIM courses using discipline-based education research, which has the potential to change the pedagogy of undergraduate and graduate education in biomedicine. Since HIM is a Commission of the Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) accredited program, we already have clear learning outcomes and required competencies mapped to each course in the curriculum.

We have selected two courses from the HIM program (HIM M200 - Database Design for HIM and HIM M220 – Health informatics for Decision Support) on which content will be developed for Guided inquiry learning. Through the SEIRI seed grant, we will develop a student team-based learning monitor (STLM) within the LibreHealth EHR system, to track the activities from students to complete a given task and suggest ways to do it in a better way, using mouse simulation.

The project applies inquiry-based learning methods that combine problem-based learning, team-based learning and process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL). CSPOGIL has been shown to improve learning outcomes and raise assessment performance, particularly among women, minority and students from low-income groups in introductory computer science courses. With the role of “desktop medicine”, a term used to describe the work done by healthcare providers on computer systems, growing to more than 50% of patient visit times, the innovation in the project is expected to be useful to a number of clinical training groups.

The project will identify changes required to the two courses and develop a needs assessment for the STLM tool in the EHR. Engagement will be measured using cognitive, behavioral and emotional measures. A baseline survey on engagement in the two courses will be done in Spring 2018. After developing new content and the STLM tool, we will pilot test the two courses and monitor the student evaluations using the STLM tool in Fall 2018. Students will provide evaluations of the tool as part of focused group discussions conducted by the undergraduate and graduate researchers of our team. The engagement survey will be also be re-conducted. This feedback will be used to enhance the STLM tool and course content, which will be tested again in the next semester. Another engagement survey will be conducted at the end.
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