2007 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., April 24, 2007
HUB West Ballroom

Session Description


Decisions about teaching: What factors do engineering faculty consider?

Jessica Yellin, Yi-Min Huang, Jennifer Turns, Brook Sattler - Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching


This poster presentation uses a cognitive science methodology for investigating the phenomenon of teaching decision making in engineering education. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 34 current engineering faculty using a critical incident approach. In these interviews, we asked faculty to identify two memorable, recent teaching-related decisions in terms of pre-active (planning) and interactive (in-class) stages. Faculty described the situation, their process for making the decision, the factors that they took into account, and their level of satisfaction with the outcome of their teaching-related decision. These interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed. This poster presents an exploratory study that we conducted using a subset of the data consisting of 10 interview transcripts.

In this poster presentation, we focus on time as the one specific and pervasive factor that faculty considered when making teaching decisions. The factor of time emerged across all 10 interviews in this subset of the data. Although participants generally acknowledged time as a constraint or limitation, some participants also revealed their beliefs that time issues can sometimes be beyond being a constraint. Their responses suggested creative solutions for overcoming time as a limitation. We categorized these approaches for considering and managing time in three ways: faculty-centered approaches, student-centered approaches, and content-centered approaches.



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