Mathematics and Physics Faculty Conceptions of Teaching in a First-Year Integrated Project-Based Engineering Curriculum


This paper examines the experiences, perspectives, and concerns of mathematics and physics faculty involved in implementing a first-year integrated project-based engineering curriculum. Carried out at a small engineering college that uses project-based learning (PjBL) as its main curricular and pedagogical practice, this curriculum expects that mathematics and physics faculty team-teach in the environment of integrated course blocks. A semi-structured, open-ended interview protocol is employed and grounded theory is used to identify answers to the following questions: (1) What are the conceptions of teaching held by mathematics and physics faculty involved in implementing a first-year integrated project-based engineering curriculum as defined by Kember's categorization of faculty conceptions? (2) To what extent does the context, in which faculty instruct, affect their teaching approaches? (3) To which extent does passive involvement (i.e., no instruction or assessment of teaching techniques) in a student-centered educational environment affect faculty's adoption of learner/knowledge-centered teaching approaches? Preliminary analysis indicates that most mathematics and physics faculty teaching in the project-based environment have student-centered intentions in teaching and the context in which the instruction is implemented (e.g., academic discipline) plays an important role in shaping faculty intentions and teaching approaches. Most faculty identify a need to continually adjust their conceptions of teaching to have a successful teaching and learning experience.

Meeting Name

2009 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition (2009: Jun. 14-17, Austin, TX)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Curricula; Engineering Education, Educational Environment; Engineering Colleges; Engineering Curriculum; Integrated Course Block; Pedagogical Practices; Preliminary Analysis; Project Based Learning; Teaching And Learning, Teaching

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2009 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), All rights reserved.

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