Challenges of incorporating Guided-Inquiry Learning in an Engineering Optimization Class
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This paper describes the introduction and impact of a student-centered, research-based approach to increasing student engagement in a graduate level engineering optimization class. The process oriented guided inquiry learning (POGIL) activities use a learning model in which teams of students collaboratively solve scripted inquiry activities. The approach assigns roles to each team member to support the construction of knowledge. POGIL originated in chemistry education, but has been adopted for use in materials science, chemical engineering, and computer science as well. The POGIL exercises were introduced into the optimization class as an effort to enhance student engagement and improve retention of knowledge. Since the effectiveness of POGIL has been demonstrated in many contexts and classroom sizes, this implementation was not expected to reveal any new findings. However, this effort revealed how the characteristics of the student population may play a significant role in the success of a POGIL implementation. The paper describes the POGIL method, how it was adapted for inclusion in an optimization class, and observations on how student demographics impacted the degree of student engagement and the effectiveness of the approach.