Implementing Collaborative Learning across the Engineering Curriculum

Patricia Stark Ralston, Thomas R Tretter, Marie Kendall Brown


Active and collaborative teaching methods increase student learning, and it is broadly accepted that almost any active or collaborative approach will improve learning outcomes as compared to lecture. Yet, large numbers of faculty have not embraced these methods. Thus, the challenge to encourage evidence-based change in teaching is not only how to educate faculty about collaborative learning techniques, but how to support them as they attempt to implement paradigmatic changes in how they deliver their courses. This paper presents a multiple case study detailing the approach one mid-sized Midwestern research university’s school of engineering used to encourage faculty in all departments to embrace the use of collaborative learning techniques, and then analyzes the impact of the approach on faculty participants. Support structures to enable faculty to implement collaborative teaching techniques, as well as the benefits participants experienced from pedagogical shifts, are discussed.


collaborative learning, faculty development, case study, barriers to pedagogical change

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ISSN 1527-9316