This complete, evidence-based paper builds upon our previous work  in developing a learning strategies course for first-year Engineering students. Revisions to the course include improvements in scaffolding metacognitive development and engaging students in professional practices to develop learning capacity and career competency. The students in the cohorted PROGRAM at UNIVERSITY consist of entering first-year students who are underprepared for success in Calculus I. Members of the cohort complete one of two approaches to Calculus readiness. One subset of students are enrolled in a year-long sequence that consists of a two-semester approach to Calculus I. The other subset of students complete an engineering math course in the fall semester prior to enrolling in Calculus I in the spring semester. All members of the cohort are co-enrolled in STEM courses that are prerequisites for changing from General Engineering into their engineering major of choice. Additionally, the students are enrolled in a 2-credit learning strategies course focused on the development of personal and professional strategies relevant to academic success.
The pedagogical model for the learning strategies course is Entangled Learning , which proposes an iterative cycle of activity in four areas that supports individual and collaborative self-directed learning and metacognitive processes. First, learners reflect on and document their values, purpose, and meaning for learning in a particular domain, as well as their initial knowledge and skills. Second, learners identify what they want or need to learn, how they will proceed with their learning, and how they will evaluate their learning. Third, learners engage in individual and collaborative learning through participation in a community of practice . The fourth area is to apply learning in personal and group practices with an iterative cycle of quality improvement . Having completed one course through the cycle, learners reflect on and synthesize their knowledge through contemplation and practices involved in curating their learning narrative in an ePortfolio . As a pedagogy, the model outlines a process for instructors to use when shaping the course so that assignments move students through the cycle. For students, the model presents a structure they can use to scaffold their independent learning in the future .
After evaluating student and instructor feedback over the past two years, the course was redesigned to have a more streamlined and scaffolded approach to developing student metacognition and engagement in professional practices for the Fall 2019 iteration. An intentional, evidence-based approach to students’ selection of learning and wellness strategies for peer sharing presentations was implemented. Peer sharing of learning strategies conveyed course content quickly without need for instructor lectures . The journal assignments were restructured and simplified to put more emphasis on evaluating the learning process and engaging in reflective practice. In-class study group time was given increased structure for the processes of planning and evaluating the group’s learning. Professional practices used by industry, such as after-action reviews ,  and meeting facilitation  used in industry were integrated into course activities and assignments. Greater integration was achieved with the Skillful Learning model of metacognition throughout the course and journal activities [1, 11]. A program goal is to engage students with resources provided by the UNIVERSITY Academic Success Center, so participation in peer-assisted learning, tutoring, MATHLab, and evening coaching hours is a required component of the course. Undergraduate peers serve as academic coaches, embedded in the course. They provide assistance during in-class activities and share their experiences as a near peer. The coaches also facilitate sessions two evenings a week. One session is for less-structured collaborative learning. The second session offers practice quizzes, an evidence-based learning strategy to improve retention .
This paper outlines the revisions to the course design, and presents an analysis of first-year general engineering students’ ability to engage in professional practices to promote metacognitive awareness. Analysis of qualitative data from Fall 2019 assignments and comparison of results from Fall 2017 and Fall 2018 will inform a discussion of the effectiveness of our approach.
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