College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

CCEE professor receives CAC funding

Kejin Wang, professor of civil, construction, and environmental engineering, and her two graduate assistants, Gilson Lomboy and Xuhao Wang, recently received $17,400 from Iowa State’s Computation Advisory Committee (CAC) to support the project “Transforming traditional lab instruction to blended instruction through computer-mediated activities.”

CAC awards fund programs designed to benefit the general instructional program and learning environment at Iowa State. They must also have a broad impact on student use of academic technology, and represent innovative uses of technology.

Wang’s proposal to enhance lab courses has the potential to revolutionize teaching delivery methods. By developing a series of instructional videos to complement her lab sessions, she will offer students insight into lab processes as well as safety tips.

“These videos should allow students to understand the material better and perform designed lab experiments more effectively and safely, ” said Wang. “If there is something students do not understand, they can return to the video and watch repeatedly until the information is absorbed.”

The videos will be released prior to labs, giving students the opportunity to learn at their own pace. Not only will this personalize student learning, but the online instruction will allow for class times to be shortened, ultimately permitting more time slots for lab courses to be offered.

Wang said the CAC funding, available through July 31, 2013, will help get her initial idea off the ground and allow it to expand as the process of creating the course format develops.

“Initially, the CAC award will help support my graduate students who are helping develop the videos and fund any supplies we need to carry out our plan,” Wang explained.

This summer, Wang will be using her course CE 382—Design of Concretes as a trial for the blended course format. She anticipates her students will provide feedback about the delivery method so she can modify it for the following semester.

If the course delivery method is well received, Wang would like to expand her approach across the department, college, and university in the future.