As instructors of medium-to-large engineering courses (defined here as more than 50 students) move away from traditional lectures and toward evidence-based practices to support student learning, they face challenges associated with providing equitable access to learning activities. For example, students identifying with underrepresented groups, first-generation students, transfer students, women in a majority male class, and students with cognitive challenges may experience anxiety in group activities, impostor syndrome, or fear of approaching instructors for help. Students with physical challenges may be limited in their participation by modes of content delivery and physical setup or access in the classroom.
The overall goals of this workshop are to highlight challenges to successful classroom group-work activities presented by learner variability and to provide resources that support best practices for inclusive teaching in this setting. The workshop will be designed to model aspects of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) (Burgstahler, 2015; Moore, 2007). Participants will experience inclusive practices during the workshop activities. Workshop activities will include collaborative learning, interactive lecture, and a case study. The workshop facilitator has previously led workshops on group work in large courses (Helmke, 2019) and on inclusive teaching practices (Benkeser, 2019).
The workshop leader will demonstrate inclusive practices. Handouts will include prompts for workshop group activities, a list of collaborative learning techniques, reflection questions to support designing a group activity for participants’ classes, and a list of references and additional resources to support continued learning. Slides will incorporate UDL principles. The facilitator will use a microphone and will record the workshop session in case some participants cannot fully participate live. The recording will be transcribed and/or captioned using software available at the facilitator’s home institution.
For those interested in: Broadening Participation in Engineering and Engineering Technology, K-12, and New Members
Brian Helmke (he/him) is currently an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Virginia. He received a B.S.E. in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania, B.S.Econ. from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego. His research interests include cardiovascular physiology, cellular mechanobiology, and nanotechnology-based biomaterials. He is also interested in technology-enhanced teaching, experiential learning for undergraduates, and inclusive teaching practices.