Work-in-Progress: Conflict-Driven Cooperative Learning in Engineering Courses


Conflict and cooperation would seem to be ideas that are diametrically opposed to each other. But, in fact, classic work by Piaget on how children and adults learn shows that when learners engage with peers in critical discussion of ideas concerning which they have different understandings, that contributes very effectively to learners developing deep understanding of the concepts involved. At the same time, getting students in undergraduate engineering courses to engage with other students in thoughtful discussion of important concepts is very challenging. It can be especially difficult to get female students and students from other under-represented groups to participate effectively in such discussions. In our work, we exploit the affordances of mobile and web technologies to address these challenges. Our approach not only helps address these challenges, it has a number of other important advantages over face-to-face discussions. We present the theoretical underpinnings of the approach, some details of our prototype implementation, preliminary results from the use of the prototype in a junior/senior level class on Software Engineering, and the design for the next version of the tool.

122nd ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition