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Spatial Visualization Skills Training at Texas State University to Enhance STEM Students' Academic SuccessA diagnostic of thirty questions administered to incoming STEM students in Fall 2013 and Fall 2015 - Fall 2018 reflects that their spatial visualization skills (SVS) need to be improved. Previous studies in the SVS subject , ,  report that well-developed SVS skills lead to students’ success in Engineering and Technology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Computer Aided Design and Mathematics. Authors ,  mention that aptitude in spatial skills is gradually becoming a standard assessment of an individual’s likelihood to succeed as an engineer. This research reports the qualitative and quantitative results of a project designed to improve SVS’s for STEM students managed under two strategies. The first strategy utilized was a series of face-to-face (FtF), two-hour training sessions taught over six weeks to all majors in STEM. This strategy was offered in Spring 2014 and every semester from Fall 2015 - Spring 2018. The second strategy was an embedded training (ET) implemented by one faculty from Fall 2017- Fall 2018. The faculty embedded the training in the US 1100 freshman seminar and was highly motivated to increase awareness of students on the importance and applicability of SVS in their fields of study. As reported by Swail et al. ,more »
This article presents the research findings of a multidisciplinary teams collective research effort at one university over a five-year period as funded by the National Science Foundations mproving ndergraduate TE Education (IUSE) program. A collaborative learning and retention action research effort at a large Hispanic Serving Institution is analyzed using mixed methods to document the power of collective impact as the foundation for a learning support model for students historically underrepresented majoring in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) academic programs. The actions of the team of researchers are presented to describe the ising tars Collective mpact model and the impacts achieved. This is a model that aligns objectives, intervention efforts, and reports collective results. The long-term goals of the Rising tars Collective mpact multiple programs managed by the funded program team included the following: (a) to improve the campus sense of community for students historically under-represented in STEM, (b) to establish innovative and robust STEM education research-based practices to support critical skill attainment for students, and (c) to support faculty understanding of the funds of knowledge of diverse students. The positive student retention and success impacts of this research effort are measured through quantitative statistical analysis of the changesmore »
Multi-Disciplinary Orientation Sessions for Fist-Year Students in Engineering, Engineering Technology, Physics, and Computer ScienceThis work in progress is motivated by a self-study conducted at Texas State University. The study revealed that the average second year science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) student retention rate is 56% vs. 67% for all majors, and that 16% of STEM majors are female while 57% of all undergraduate students are female. Using these statistics, the authors identified the need to offer motivating experiences to freshman in STEM while creating a sense of community among other STEM students. This paper reports on the impact of two interventions designed by the authors and aligned with this need. The interventions are: (1) a one-day multi- disciplinary summer orientation (summer15) to give participants the opportunity to undertake projects that demonstrate the relevance of spatial and computational thinking skills and (2) a subsequent six-week spatial visualization skills training (fall 2015) for students in need to refine these skills. The interventions have spatial skills as a common topic and introduce participants to career applications through laboratory tours and talks. Swail et al. mentions that the three elements to address in order to best support students’ persistence and achievement are cognitive, social, and institutional factors. The interventions address all elements to some extent andmore »