Using Think Pair Share to deliver Mechanical Engineering courses

Published:

USING TPS TO DELIVER COURSE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING


Abstract

Think-pair-share (TPS) is a collaborative learning strategy in which students work together to solve a problem or answer a question about an assigned reading{ y }. This learning strategy has proven to be a highly successful pedagogical model in many educational fields. It is one of the typical teaching methodology by motivating student to think, share ideas with classmates and serves maximum participation. This paper presents a TPS trial applied to an undergraduate Machine drawing course in the Mechanical Engineering program at Vidya Jyothi Institute of Technology (VJIT) affiliated to Jawarlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad India. It also includes the comparison of the results for the TPS, syllabi coverage and traditional pedagogies based on student feedback.

Keywords: TPS, Collaborative learning and Mechanical Engineering

INTRODUCTION

Vidya Jyothi Institute of Technology affiliated to Jawarlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU), Hyderabad, India. The syllabi and curriculum for this undergraduate program Mechanical engineering will be decided by The Board of Studies (BoS) at the university (JNTU). It has been observed that Students face lot of difficulty to understand and pass this course. Even faculty face problem of completing syllabus. We used to follow traditional way of teaching i.e. chalk and talk. In such an environment where the only method to impart technical education is traditional—Lecture, Tutorial and Practical (L/T/P) and where the affiliating university describes the approach to delivery, it is almost impossible to introduce any other pedagogy, without proving the usefulness of the new approach. In an effort to facilitate the paradigm shift, the authors initiated a series of efforts, to introduce TPS for the courses in undergraduate program of Mechanical Engineering (MECH), at VJIT. The first of these efforts was for this course in Machine Drawing. Encouraged by the success of this tryout, the author want to implement the same for the other courses. This paper describes about implementation of the course machine drawing with TPS, Delivery of the course and the comparison of the feedback and pedagogies given by the students in support of TPS.

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Methodology

I. Formation of the streams

In order to compare the pedagogies ,out of two sections(A,B) of mechanical second year second semester students. We have implemented TPS for section A (59 students) and traditional approach for section B. (a) The formation of the Traditional stream was quite traditional with the students sitting in the classroom in rows, facing the teacher. The differentiation of Lecture, Tutorial and Practical classes was quite clear. The teacher gave lecture in lecture classes, made the students to draw in the drawing hall what he has discussed in his lecture[ x ]. (b)The students in TPS Group (section) were first asked to form their groups with a minimum four and maximum five students in each group. The set-up was done to facilitate interaction and discussion among groups. Students are asked to think individually about a topic or answer to a question, share ideas with group and comprehending the answers with other groups. The students were free to use their laptops and search for any information required on internet. They encouraged to use CAD software.

II. Teaching Pedagogy

(a) The teaching pedagogy for the Traditional section continued to be “traditional” using Lecture, followed by Drawing Practice. The teacher prepares Lecture plan and Lab Plan—an hour wise, lecture wise, lab wise schedule, for delivery of the whole syllabus, right from knowledge level to the application level. He also delivered the course in agreement to the same. The syllabi delivery in the Lecture classes is teacher centric. However the students were not allowed to work in groups, practice new problems and supposed not to discuss the issues in the drawing Hall. The Drawing session for a particular topic was always after the concept was delivered and understood by the students in the Lecture classes. There is no scope for student to learn by own. it’s like passive way of learning. The point to note is from our past experience we couldn’t completed the entire syllabus with traditional approach

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(b) For the TPS Section, there was no structured plan in terms of delivery of content. However the teacher—here, termed Facilitator - prepared a complete set of Technical data and Learning Objectives. There was no demarcation of Lecture, Drawing practice and the total time available for the course was divided into several three hour TPS-sessions. The students developed an understanding and also found the solution to the problems while traversing the conceptual space and also learned to work in teams. The role of the teacher was changed from the “content-delivery-man” to a facilitator. The students worked on their Technical Problems, trying to find out one of the many possible solutions, determining and achieving their own theoretical and practical Learning Objectives. The teacher remained and worked as “guide-by-side,” truly taking up the role of a facilitator. He carefully monitored each and every step of the groups and remained aware of the progress made by the groups. At times, when the felt that all the students encountered the same problem, the facilitator to deliverer a structured lecture.

In order to gauge the desired skills achieved by students, a assembly drawing which is not discussed earlier was given to all the students (all sections) in the classes at the end of the term and timely completion of the test were graded on a scale of 1 to 10. Results showed that section A part of TPS got good grades compared to sections B

s.no

Syllabus covered with

%

1

Traditional (Section B)

80

2

TPS (Section A)

100

Table: A. syllabus covered

s.no

On scale of 1 to 10(1 for most negative and 10 for most positive Response)

Response: TPS

(MEAN)

Response: Traditional (MEAN)

1

Satisfaction level with the tutor

7.9

7.1

2

Average time of the class used effectively

8.2

7.2

3

Confident of performing in external exam

6.8

4

Did you copy the drawings from your classmates

4.8

7.4

5

Did you enjoy attending the classes

9.1

6.5

6

Do you recommend methodology to your juniors

9.3

7.0

Table: B. Questionnaire and student response

Conclusions

By implementing TPS for the course in the under graduate Mechanical Engineering program. Analysis of the results conducted on the students by way of skill test exam showed that the TPS students scored much better. Entire syllabus of the course could be completed (Table:A). A remarkable difference was noticed in response to the feedback questionnaire (Table:B). The learning skills acquired by the students of TPS group were more than those acquired by the students in Traditional group, as is clear from the result of the test conducted at the end of the semester. It was observed that the students spent more time in the TPS class than their Traditional group students.. The scale definitely tilts towards TPS. It is recommended that TPS be used on larger basis. However prior to deciding to change over from the traditional methodology to TPS, more issues like faculty training in handling TPS classes, and strategy to form groups within TPS need to be look in.