Center for Educational Research
3141 Chestnut Street, Bossone 512
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Faculty Tool Box
This report presents the development and results of an assessment conducted during the Spring of 1999 on the Robotics-for-Theatre project, an educational initiative developed at the Cooper Union School of Engineering under the auspices of the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition of the National Science Foundation. The purpose of the assessment was summative: we wanted to gather information about a team of students who developed a robot for theatrical performance in order to develop a protocol for assessment of similar future projects. In order to gather the information, a number of assessment instruments were designed and implemented. Students were asked to track ideas that were successfully applied to the robot, and ideas that were not. They were asked about the means of communication used during the development of the project. They were also asked to express their views on the learning process on a number of issues ranging from communication skills, to teamwork, to interdisciplinarity. The analysis of students' responses has allowed us to design a new assessment protocol.
Unlike the summative assessment performed, the proposed protocol is fundamentally formative: it has been designed to be a part of the overall design of engineering projects from the outset, and it specifies feedback loops for continuous improvement that should be implemented during the development of the projects. If successfully implemented, we believe the protocol can be an effective way to track and improve the learning by engineering students at Cooper Union in a number of dimensions or learning outcomes. A successful implementation will require full collaboration among all parties involved in each project, especially faculty and students, the main players and beneficiaries of assessment practices.
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