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  1. Assessing team software development projects is notoriously difficult and typically based on subjective metrics. To help make assessments more rigorous, we conducted an empirical study to explore relationships between subjective metrics based on peer and instructor assessments, and objective metrics based on GitHub and chat data. We studied 23 undergraduate software teams (n= 117 students) from two undergraduate computing courses at two North American research universities. We collected data on teams’ (a) commits and issues from their GitHub code repositories, (b) chat messages from their Slack and Microsoft Teams channels, (c) peer evaluation ratings from the CATME peer evaluation system, and (d) individual assignment grades from the courses. We derived metrics from (a) and (b) to measure both individual team members’contributionsto the team, and theequalityof team members’ contributions. We then performed Pearson analyses to identify correlations among the metrics, peer evaluation ratings, and individual grades. We found significant positive correlations between team members’ GitHub contributions, chat contributions, and peer evaluation ratings. In addition, the equality of teams’ GitHub contributions was positively correlated with teams’ average peer evaluation ratings and negatively correlated with the variance in those ratings. However, no such positive correlations were detected between the equality of teams’ chat contributions and their peer evaluation ratings. Our study extends previous research results by providing evidence that (a) team members’ chat contributions, like their GitHub contributions, are positively correlated with their peer evaluation ratings; (b) team members’ chat contributions are positively correlated with their GitHub contributions; and (c) the equality of team’ GitHub contributions is positively correlated with their peer evaluation ratings. These results lend further support to the idea that combining objective and subjective metrics can make the assessment of team software projects more comprehensive and rigorous. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 30, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  3. Metacognition is widely acknowledged as a key soft skill in collaborative software development. The ability to plan, monitor, and reflect on cognitive and team processes is crucial to the efficient and effective functioning of a software team. To explore students' use of reflection--one aspect of metacognition--in undergraduate team software projects, we analyzed the online chat channels of teams participating in agile software development projects in two undergraduate courses that took place exclusively online (n = 23 teams, 117 students, and 4,915 chat messages). Teams' online chats were dominated by discussions of work completed and to be done; just two percent of all chat messages showed evidence of reflection. A follow-up analysis of chat vignettes centered around reflection messages (n = 63) indicates that three-fourths of the those messages were prompted by a course requirement; just 14\% arose organically within the context of teams' ongoing project work. Based on our findings, we identify opportunities for computing educators to increase, through pedagogical and technological interventions, teams' use of reflection in team software projects. 
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  4. Over the past year we continued, under support from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education, to emphasize implementation of Low-Cost Desktop Learning Modules LCDLMs for fluid mechanics, heat transfer and biomedical applications. Here we present implementation data from concept tests and surveys, details on new designs and insights gained. Through these activities our team progressed beyond original expectations that were outlined in our original set of NSF-sponsored objectives. We analyzed data from several institutions added from the south central and mid-eastern portions of the US through a combined University of ***-L** and -P** training hub conducted in a virtual mode held in September 2020 with regional communications spearheaded by respective faculty from these institutions. Much of the data analyzed results from support through a 2020 NSF supplement where we engaged in a study to compare direct hands-on implementations of LCDLMs to virtual synchronous and asynchronous implementations augmented with short conceptual videos, a tact necessary because of COVID-19 in-person restrictions. Surprisingly, both in-person and virtual modes show similar conceptual gains. A publication is being developed with intent for submission to the International Journal of Engineering Education where we compare the virtual and in-person modes of instruction. We added a few more institutions through a northeastern training hub held in August 2021 with faculty from the University of *** managing regional communications; again, this hub was held virtually given uncertainty about the lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions. Regarding new LCDLMs we added a shell and tube heat exchanger and fabricated a large number for distribution and implementation and began analyzing conceptual gains and survey results. We prototyped a new evaporative cooler and continue to develop new broader impact units to demonstrate stenosis in an artery and blood cell separations and began implementing them in the classroom. Regarding LCDLM publications a paper was published in Chemical Engineering Education on a study where we compare heat transfer data for the miniature double pipe heat exchanger to predictions based on correlations for industrial scale heat exchangers and included classroom assessment data. 
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  5. Although there is extensive literature documenting hands-on learning experiences in engineering classrooms, there is a lack of consensus regarding how student learning during these activities compares to learning during online video demonstrations. Further, little work has been done to directly compare student learning for similarly-designed hands-on learning experiences focused on different engineering subjects. As the use of hands-on activities in engineering continues to grow, understanding how to optimize student learning during these activities is critical. To address this, we collected conceptual assessment data from 763 students at 15 four-year institutions. Students completed activities with one of two highly visual low-cost desktop learning modules (LCDLMs), one focused on fluid mechanics and the other on heat transfer principles, using two different implementation formats: either hands-on or video demonstration. Conceptual assessment results showed that assessment scores significantly increased after all LCDLM activities and that gains were statistically similar for hands-on and video demonstrations, suggesting both implementation formats support an impactful student learning experience. However, a significant difference was observed in effectiveness based on the type of LCDLM used. Score increases of 31.2% and 24% were recorded on our post-activity assessment for hands-on and virtual implementations of the fluid mechanics LCDLM compared to pre-activity assessment scores, respectively, while significantly smaller 8.2% and 9.2% increases were observed for hands-on and virtual implementations of the heat transfer LCDLM. In this paper, we consider existing literature to ascertain the reasons for similar effectiveness of hands-on and video demonstrations and for the differing effectiveness of the fluid mechanics and heat transfer LCDLMs. We discuss the practical implications of our findings with respect to designing hands-on or video demonstration activities. 
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  6. Hands-on experiments using the Low-Cost Desktop Learning Modules (LCDLMs) have been implemented in dozens of classrooms to supplement student learning of heat transfer and fluid mechanics concepts with students of varying prior knowledge. The prior knowledge of students who encounter these LCDLMs in the classroom may impact the degree to which students learn from these interactive pedagogies. This paper reports on the differences in student cognitive learning between groups with low and high prior knowledge of the concepts that are tested. Student conceptual test results for venturi, hydraulic loss, and double pipe heat exchanger LCDLMs are analyzed by grouping the student data into two bins based on pre-test score, one for students scoring below 50% and another for those scoring above and comparing the improvement from pretest to posttest between the two groups. The analysis includes data from all implementations of each LCDLM for the 2020-2021 school year. Results from each of the three LCDLMs were analyzed separately to compare student performance on different fluid mechanics or heat exchanger concepts. Then, the overall pre- and posttest scores for all three LCDLMs were analyzed to examine how this interactive pedagogy impacts cognitive gains. Results showed statistically significant differences in improvement between low prior knowledge groups and high prior knowledge groups. Additional findings showed statistically significant results suggesting that the gaps in performance between low prior knowledge and high prior knowledge groups on pre-tests for the LCDLMs were decreased on the posttest. Findings showed that students with lower prior knowledge show a greater overall improvement in cognitive gains than those with higher prior knowledge on all three low-cost desktop learning modules. 
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  7. Our team has developed Low-Cost Desktop Learning Modules (LCDLMS) as tools to study transport phenomena aimed at providing hands-on learning experiences. With an implementation design embedded in the community of inquiry framework, we disseminate units to professors across the country and train them on how to facilitate teacher presence in the classroom with the LC-DLMs. Professors are briefed on how create a homogenous learning environment for students based on best-practices using the LC-DLMs. By collecting student cognitive gain data using pre/posttests before and after students encounter the LC-DLMs, we aim to isolate the variable of the professor on the implementation with LC-DLMs. Because of the onset of COVID-19, we have modalities for both hands-on and virtual implementation data. An ANOVA whereby modality was grouped and professor effect was the independent variable had significance on the score difference in pre/posttest scores (p<0.0001) and on posttest score only (p=0.0004). When we divide out modality between hands-on and virtual, an ANOVA with an Ftest using modality as the independent variable and professor effect as the nesting variable also show significance on the score difference between pre and posttests (p-value=0.0236 for handson, and p-value=0.0004 for virtual) and on the posttest score only (p-value=0.0314 for hands-on, and p-value<0.0001 for virtual). These results indicate that in all modalities professor had an effect on student cognitive gains with respect to differences in pre/posttest score and posttest score only. Future will focus on qualitative analysis of features of classrooms yield high cognitive gains in undergraduate engineering students. 
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  8. Currently, substantial efforts are underway to improve the engagement and retention of engineering and computer science (E/CS) students in their academic programs. Student participation in specific activities known as High Impact Educational Practices (HIP) has been shown to improve student outcomes across a variety of degree fields. Thus, we suggest that understanding how and why E/CS students, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, participate in HIP is vital for supporting efforts aimed at improving E/CS student engagement and retention. The aim of the current study is to examine the participation of E/CS undergraduates enrolled at two western land-grant institutions (both institutions are predominantly white; one is an emerging Hispanic-serving institution) across five HIEP (i.e., global learning and study aboard internships, learning communities, service and community-based learning, and undergraduate research) that are offered outside of required E/CS curricula and are widely documented in the research literature. As part of a larger study, researchers developed an online questionnaire to explore student HIP participation and then surveyed E/CS students (n = 576) across both land-grant institutions. Subsequently, researchers will use survey results to inform the development of focus groups interview protocols. Focus group interviews will be conducted with purposefully selected E/CS students who participated in the survey. Combined survey and focus group data will then be analyzed to more deeply understand why and how E/CS students participate in the HIP at their university. This research paper reports on the frequency distribution analysis of the survey data generated with E/CS undergraduates enrolled at one of the two land grant institutions. The combined sample included E/CS undergraduates from the following demographic groups: female (34 %), Asian (10 %), Black or African American (2%), Hispanic or Latinx (6%), Native American or Alaskan Native (1%), Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (1%), White (81 %), and multiracial (4 %). Results show that most (38%) E/CS students reported participating in internships, while study abroad programs garnered the smallest level of E/CS student participation (5%) across all five HIP. Internships were found most likely to engage diverse students: Female (42%), Hispanic or Latinx (24%), Multiracial (44%), Asian (31%), First-generation (29%), and nontraditional students—other than those categorized as highly nontraditional—all reported participating in internships more than any other HIP. Notable differences in participation across E/CS and demographic groups were found for other HIPs. Results further revealed that 43% of respondents did not participate in any extracurricular HIP and only 19% participated in two or more HIP. Insights derived from the survey and used to inform ongoing quantitative and qualitative analyses are discussed. Keywords: community-based learning, high impact educational practices, HIP, internships learning communities, service learning, study aboard, undergraduate research 
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  9. Despite efforts to attract and retain more students in engineering and computer science — particularly women and students from underrepresented groups — diversity within these educational programs and the technical workforce remains stubbornly low. Research shows that undergraduate retention, persistence, and success in college is affected by several factors, including sense of belonging, task value, positive student-faculty interactions, school connectedness, and student engagement [1], [2]. Kuh [1] found that improvement in persistence, performance, and graduation for students in college were correlated to students’ level of participation in particular activities known as high impact educational practices (HIEP). HIEP include, among others, culminating experiences, learning communities, service learning, study abroad, and undergraduate research; Kuh [1] concluded that these activities may be effective at promoting overall student success. Kuh [1] and others [3] further hypothesized that participation in HIEP may especially benefit students from non-majority groups. Whether and how engineering and computer science students benefit from participating in HIEP and whether students from non-majority groups have access to HIEP activities, however, remain as questions to investigate. In this project, we examine engineering and computer science student participation in HIEP at two public land grant institutions. In this study, we seek to understand how and why students participate in HIEP and how participation affects their persistence and success in engineering and computer science majors. Set within the rural, public land grant university context, this study conceptualizes diversity in a broad sense and includes women, members of underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, first generation college students, adult learners, and nontraditional student as groups contributing to the diversity of academic programs and the technical workforce. 
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