This research paper describes a multiple case study of three engineering faculty members who participated in a faculty learning community (FLC) at least two years prior. That FLC focused on encouraging and supporting faculty to implement collaborative learning techniques within a variety of courses, and this paper reports on how faculty sustain those efforts independently at least two years later.
Extensive research has illuminated the benefits of collaborative teaching techniques on student learning , , . Specific benefits include: improvements in student achievement, quality of interpersonal interactions, self-esteem, student attitudes, and retention. In addition, the accrediting agency for engineering programs  precisely links student collaboration to the engineering curriculum via two of the eleven required student outcomes . Despite the mounting evidence that should inspire engineering faculty to strive toward implementing collaborative learning techniques in their courses, engagement in collaborative teaching practices have shown slow progress .
Initial data for this multiple case study was collected through semi-structured interviews  with all original faculty members that indicated having some level of sustainment in collaborative student learning techniques in their courses, long after the conclusion of the FLC. Purposeful sampling  was used to identify the two faculty for this study due to their various creative uses of collaborative student learning techniques in their classes, leadership in encouraging others to engage in collaborative learning, and persistence in participation of continued faculty development in collaborative learning. During the interviews faculty were prompted to share their experiences of implementing collaborative learning techniques within their courses, and to articulate features that they adapted over time to their course context. A cross-case analysis used classroom observations, which were conducted following the semi-structured interviews.
Results indicate these faculty members, who sustained collaborative student learning within their courses, shared similar characteristics. These characteristics include faculty beliefs about the effectiveness of collaborative learning techniques, and faculty’s emphasis of student needs over their own. Key elements of the FLC structure (i.e. peer collaboration and regular meeting schedule) were referred to by faculty as integral features that enabled their success in implementing and sustaining collaborative learning techniques in their courses. This study has implications that benefit faculty developers, faculty development facilitators, and faculty exploring ways for sustaining pedagogical change.
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