Assessment of Students' Preconceptions in an Introductory Transportation Engineering Course: Case Study at Virginia Tech

Milos N. Mladenovic*, Katerina Mangaroska, Montasir M. Abbas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introductory transportation engineering (TE) courses are crucial for developing students' interest in TE and for creating a professional knowledge foundation. However, effective learning requires certain conditions. Students' preconceptions are instrumental to the learning process, and ignoring preconceptions can result in the creation of knowledge gaps and negative effects on learning. The previous research did not focus on students' preconceptions in the introductory TE courses. Consequently, the purpose of this case study was the assessment of students' preconceptions in the introductory TE course at Virginia Tech. The research methodology was based on a precourse survey and concept maps, including the development of a transferable coding method. Qualitative data were used to assess how students integrate, organize, and relate concepts using their previous knowledge. Results indicate that variation of students' preconceptions exists based on their major and year, along with specific positive, negative, or incomplete concepts. Additionally, the analysis indicates an increase in concept consistency and convergence in concepts based on students' previous knowledge. Conclusively, awareness of students' preconceptions is necessary for developing new approaches that could improve the learning environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5016002
JournalJOURNAL OF PROFESSIONAL ISSUES IN ENGINEERING EDUCATION AND PRACTICE
Volume142
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Concept map
  • Preconceptions
  • Student survey
  • Transportation engineering education

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