Written by on June 1, 2016

Cal Poly 2016 Learn by Doing Scholar Awardees Named

Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering faculty Brian Self and James Widmann, and Chemistry and Biochemistry faculty Alan Kiste and Gregory Scott, were named 2016 winners of Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Scholar Awards for their outstanding contributions to the field of Learn by Doing.

[Photo by Robin Osgood]

[Photo by Robin Osgood]

Self (top left) and Widmann (top right) were recognized for their work in the category of completed research. “Inquiry-Based Learning Activities in Dynamics” contributes to understanding what activities help students achieve conceptual understanding, and why.

Widmann responded to the news of their award, saying

“It has been an exciting project that we hope will bring long term benefits to our students and to Cal Poly. What has been particularly exciting for us is seeing how “Learning by Doing” can have a direct impact on conceptual understanding of difficult topics for our students. … We think this award is a great incentive for Cal Poly faculty to further engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning and ‘Learn by Doing.’”

Self remarked on the added learning outcome benefits received by their team of student researchers, which included Lindsey Chase, Ben Kraw, Alexa Coburn, Mike George, Julia Roche, and Natasha O’Connell-Mackay.

“It has been especially rewarding working with our great team of undergraduate researchers. We’ve enjoyed seeing them gain confidence running the activities in our classes, and then presenting papers at regional and national conferences. Working with the inquiry-based learning activities has given them an entirely new insight into their own learning.”

Their work, funded in part by the NSF, has received widespread validation from numerous research publications, and they have engaged in extensive outreach to share their findings through workshops and presentations. Their work was recognized with an award of $2,000.

[Photo by Daniel Sanderson]

[Photo by Daniel Sanderson]

Kiste (right) and Scott (left) were recognized for their work in the category of planned and in-progress research.  Their research on “Cal Poly Studio Chemistry:  An Examination of Student Outcomes,” promises to provide new levels of understanding about studio learning environments’ impact on learning outcomes, including learning attitudes, content knowledge, grades, retention, and faculty evaluations. Kiste and Scott collaborated with an interdisciplinary team of students: Jesse Bukenberger (Industrial Engineering), Miles Markmann (Chemistry), and Jennifer Moore (Math).

Enhancing our understanding of studio learning has the potential to impact learning experiences for thousands of Cal Poly undergraduate students every year. An award of $1000 recognizes the research.

A faculty committee representing all colleges selected awardees for the annual award, administered by the Kennedy Library, and established in 2014-15 to inspire and recognize formal scholarship into Cal Poly’s signature pedagogy.

The award serves a needed role, encouraging research that intentionally integrates Cal Poly’s motto into practice, according to Recreation Parks and Tourism faculty and selection committee member Brian Greenwood:

“This award is so critical to the ultimate success of Learn by Doing on campus, as it serves as a recognition for effort to not just ‘do’ for the sake of doing but to be scholarly and intentional in our planning of Learn by Doing in a manner that measures the success of student learning and development in and outside the classroom.”

Brennan Davis, committee member representing the College of Business, remarked on the submissions’ creative applications of the Learn by Doing model across disciplines.

“It was amazing to see the diversity of how professors across campus applied our common university motto of Learn by Doing in such rich, intentional, measurable and interesting ways.”

All four 2016 awardees will be recognized at a special event at the library in October 2016.

For more information about this year’s award and the selection committee, see: http://lib.calpoly.edu/faculty/learn-by-doing/

Read more on learn by doing and learn by doing scholar award.

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