To better understand teaching practices of engineering technology faculty, engineering technology faculty were asked to complete an online Engineering Teaching Practices Inventory (ETPI). The ETPI is a modified version of Wieman & Gilbert’s Teaching Practices Inventory, a tool for characterizing college and university teaching in mathematics and science. To better understand how engineering labs are taught, new questions were added on topics such as equipment availability, lab objectives and evaluation of student learning from lab activities. The inventory prompts users to select a course that they teach and then answer a series of questions about how they teach the course. Our goals in administering the inventory were 1) to understand the extent to which research-based (a.k.a., evidence-based) teaching practices are being used in engineering technology instruction; and 2) to assess the usability of the questions for characterizing engineering teaching. The data were analyzed in aggregate; individual scores for instructors or courses were not calculated. The inventory was easy-to-use. The median average completion time was 15 minutes. The mean, after discarding the five fastest and slowest responses, was 16 minutes.
Sixty-one (61) instructors from Engineering Technology and similar programs completed the inventory. In general, the majority of respondents reported using evidence-based teaching practices. In addition, there are several evidence-based teaching practices that most respondents did not report using.
Regarding lab instruction, results suggest that i is quite common for students to have to share lab workbenches/equipment; often four or more students share a single set of equipment. At the same time, access to equipment outside of scheduled lab times is limited. It appears that increased use of virtual and remote labs could alleviate some of the equipment access issues.
Future directions include: 1) Administer the inventory to faculty in other engineering disciplines or organizations; and 2) Develop surveys for instructors and industry to explore concerns and issues related to use of remote and virtual labs, such as cost, maintenance, upgrade issues, and what could be added to remote labs to make them more useful for education.
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