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Implementation of Student Presentation-Based Active Learning (SPAL) Approach in Undergraduate Engineering Curriculum

[+] Author Affiliations
Jiajun Xu

University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

Paper No. IMECE2017-70478, pp. V005T06A006; 5 pages
  • ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 5: Education and Globalization
  • Tampa, Florida, USA, November 3–9, 2017
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5840-0
  • Copyright © 2017 by ASME


Active learning approaches require a lot of time investment in student activities and engagement during the class period, which often leads to incomplete coverage of the course syllabus. Furthermore, it requires significant amount of time for the instructor to design and implement active learning strategies. All these shortcomings are often cited as the common hindrance in adopting student active learning. To address these widely recognized inhibiting factors, we recently implemented a new student active learning approach. This approach is based on the students’ presentation and hence termed as student presentation-based active learning (SPAL). Under this approach, students are given a reading assignment to prepare a PowerPoint presentation on well-defined conceptual topics, questions, or chapter modules. Reading assignments on a topic are administered 1–2 weeks before covering them in the class. This allows reasonable time for the self-comprehension of the suggested material for presentation preparation. Students were expected to rehearse the presentation and be prepared to complete it in the suggested time duration. During each lecture, one group of student would present the assigned topic to the class, and their presentations were graded according to the rubric focusing on the coverage of suggested topics, quality of presentation, and after presentation discussions. Peers and instructor provided feedback about the students’ presentation and unclear concepts. To understand the efficacy of this approach, this approach was implemented in Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Project I course in Fall 2016. Here the responses and insights garnered from this practice were presented, and discussion on the advantages and challenges associated with the adaptation of this approach in teaching engineering courses as compared to lecture based classroom education system. This paper can provide useful insights for instructors considering this approach or similar student active teaching approach in their courses.

Copyright © 2017 by ASME



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