NAVIGATING THE VIRTUAL LANDSCAPE: IMPLEMENTING A PEDAGOGICAL FRAMEWORK IN A VIRTUAL SUMMER ENGINEERING COURSE TO ENHANCE STUDENTS’ ACADEMIC DEVELOPMENT
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In this evidence-based practice paper, the recently established CIRE educational model was incorporated, and modified, to establish an alternative pedagogical framework for a virtual, fast-paced summer engineering course in a private university in Texas. Transitioning to fully online courses in the wake of COVID-19 required a rapid modification of traditional pedagogical methods to overcome challenges such as the lack of academic resources and established campus practices, while simultaneously ensuring the academic and social development of students. In this regard, a pedagogical framework known as the CIRE model – which is the acronym for Communication, Initiation, Reduction, and Extension – was recently designed and implemented in a Rigid Body Dynamics Fall semester course, which generated favorable results. In this study, the CIRE model was adopted for a virtual Statics-Strength of Materials summer [six-week] course to test its effectiveness in a slightly different timeframe. However, the Initiation and Extension components of the model were modified to adapt to the fast-paced structure and allow the students to enhance their academic preparation despite the virtual setting. As such, rather than initiating homework sets during the lecture, as established in the CIRE model, step-by-step examples were instead performed during lecture sessions to strengthen the intuitive nature of solving homework problems. Similarly, the last component of the model was tailored for exams during the face-paced summer course rather than for every assignment as stated originally. A survey was conducted with a cohort of twenty-four students to gauge responses and understand their perspectives regarding the pedagogical framework adopted. Results indicate that the implementation of the CIRE model, with its two modified components, allowed engineering students to have a holistic understanding of the course material despite the fast-paced timeframe. Students were able to successfully complete assignments individually and correlate theoretical aspects with engineering applications.