A gateway course redesign working group model

Katie Cadwell, Michelle M. Blum, Julie M. Hasenwinkel, Carol Elizabeth Stokes-Cawley

Research output: Contribution to journalConference Articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


As is described in this Evidence-Based Practice Paper, a grant-supported team in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University provides professional development opportunities for our engineering and computer science faculty that focus on improving the quality of instruction. The team seeks to provide an engaging engineering educational experience for our undergraduates to improve both our retention and graduation rates, thus keeping these students in the engineering pipeline. One of the major goals of the team is to help faculty implement best practices, in the form of student-active pedagogies, in target 1st- and 2nd-year gateway courses, improving the classroom environment and student learning and persistence. To this end the team created an intensive summer pilot program aimed at faculty who teach gateway engineering and computer science classes. Faculty were invited to participate in the 2017 Summer Gateway Course Redesign Working Group, the purpose of which was to modify gateway classes to include and/or enhance students' active learning and test the success of these changes in their classrooms in the 2017-2018 academic year. Those who participated in the Program received: peer and technical support, time and space to work on new ideas, a summer salary supplement and an additional supplement after implementing class changes and assessing the success of those changes. Participating faculty had to commit to attend a kick-off meeting, a minimum of four 2-hour working sessions, and a mandatory final presentation. In addition, faculty had to complete assigned homework, identify specific project outcomes and provide a plan to implement and assess the course learning outcomes. Fourteen faculty participated in the summer 2017 program. During the working sessions, faculty with experience using specific techniques shared their knowledge, guest speakers presented relevant technologies, and faculty discussed adapting methods to various subjects, potential pitfalls, and best practices. 100% of the workshop participants met all of the initial program requirements - 60% met more than what was required - and all presented their work/plans at the final summer meeting. The presentations illustrated the range and depth of innovative teaching techniques that faculty planned to implement during AY 2017-18 including: flipping or partially flipping the classroom; adding or redesigning student and team projects, experiments and demonstrations; creating more opportunities for student low stake evaluations including on-line quizzes and homework; and incorporating games into class time. To determine the program's success we will evaluate the program after faculty have incorporated the proposed changes into their Gateway Classes. In addition to assessing whether the redesign efforts met each faculty's desired outcomes, we will survey faculty to determine how likely they would have worked on this project by themselves without the support and accountability that the Redesign Working Group provided. If the program proves successful we hope to continue to offer it to faculty and share the model with other colleges and universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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