TAR Fellows

2020-2021 TAR Fellows

 

An.jpgMi Sun An

TAR Project Abstract

Construction Science is a discipline which has its basis on a project-based industry, in which field experience is critical to run construction projects. Rather than orienting into lecturing in order to facilitate students’ learning, experience is critical due to multi-discipline nature of construction in order to advance to higher levels. This notion of learning helps develop ideal classes in which projects are given and students learn solving problems which require accumulated prior knowledge. Current classroom practices involve fundamental concepts and discrete skill sets in the same time slot. In addition, current teaching practices are function or skill oriented, which does not reflect the nature of multi-discipline nature of the industry.
 
In order to facilitate classroom learning activity of problem-solving with a project drawing, this study implements a flipped classroom approach to one of the courses teaching fundamental concept, Construction Graphics Communication, which fills the gap of knowledge before the class for students’ successful learning activity.
 
Incorporating the concept of flipped class, the content will be provided before the class as the form of video-taped lectures, open source video clips, and pictures taken in the project sites, and students are advised to consume the materials before the class time to ensure that they are competent enough to solve the questions of reading construction drawings, the target learning of this class. This study will assess whether flipped classroom learning facilitates students’ learning experiences in the class which comprises content and solving related questions of the project given. Post-class survey combined with interviews will be used to assess whether flipped class helps students’ learning. One broader impact of this study is to open the possibility to apply this concept of flipped class in disseminating methodologies on information technology integration into construction industry.

Fellow Biography

Mi Sun received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from the Chonbuk National University, South Korea and another Master’s in Teaching & Learning (TESOL) from New York University, and she is now pursuing a Ph.D., in Construction Science at Texas A&M University. She also holds a 20 years’ experience in the construction industry. While in the industry, she worked for constructing schools, residentials, and parks. The most recent project that she worked for was to develop a 19-story residential and office building the gross area of which is 34,427 square meters.

While working in the industry, Mi Sun pursued efficiency in construction management which suits in information age. Her research interests include Construction Digital Twin, IoT for real-time construction visualization, Artificial Intelligence in construction operation optimization and Big Data Analytics in Construction Economy. After completing her Ph.D., she hopes to pursue a career as a researcher disseminating methodologies on information technology integration into construction industry.


Pedro Batista Camara Leal

TAR Project Abstract

We are exploring the utilization of an online platform (e.g., StackOverflow, Reddit, etc.) to foster a 'learning community' and organically develop documentation that will benefit students in the short- (during the semester) and long-term (following semesters). The platform would be an integral component of the AERO 405 'Aerospace Structures Design' class in the Fall. During the semester, students will be encouraged to ask/answer questions online in a collaborative effort to solve their problems. Throughout this process, students will learn how to make technical questions properly (e.g., minimum working example and 'rubber duck debugging'). Multiple answers will be possible, providing numerous insights not perceived by the lecturer and catering to students from various backgrounds. Students in the following semesters can also utilize and improve any uploaded content; creating a learning resource from the students, by the students, for the students.

Fellow Biography

Pedro is a Ph.D. student in the Aerospace Department at Texas A&M. He has B.S. and M.S. degrees from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. He works on developing morphing technology for avian-inspired UAVs and low-boom supersonic transports (SST). During graduate school, he has worked in collaboration with Nasa, AFOSR, Boeing, Embraer, and others. 


Fidai.jpgAamir Fidai

TAR Project Abstract

In this quasi experimental research study, we propose to introduce preservice STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers to open source instructional robotics. Preservice STEM teachers (N > 30) enrolled in a senior level teaching methods course will engage in hands-on robotics activities using open source hardware devices visual coding platforms. Preservice STEM teachers will practice their new skills by building open source IoT (Internet of Things) STEM instructional robotic projects as members of a professional learning community. They will then engage in incorporating their STEM IoT projects into hands on lesson planning and delivery activities. We will assess preservice teachers’ knowledge of open source instructional robotics by using surveys and short interviews as the beginning of the experiment (semester). Then during the semester, we will observe the preservice teachers as they engage in hands-on lesson planning and delivery activities using their open source IoT STEM instructional robotics projects. In the later part of the semester, preservice teachers will be assessed to gauge for any changes in their knowledge and perceptions of open source IoT instructional robotics using the same survey and short interviews. We hope to see positive changes in participants TPACK of open source robotics and development of positive perceptions towards instructional robotics.

Fellow Biography

Aamir received his master’s degree in Mathematics Education from University of Texas at Dallas and is currently a fourth-year doctoral student at Texas A&M university. Aamir Fidai served as a mathematics teacher and varsity tennis coach in Dallas ISD for 10 years. During his tenure at Pinkston high school in West Dallas, he became an advocate for the cause of access and inclusion in STEM education for all students. He founded the first STEM club in Dallas ISD and encouraged his students who were mostly from underprivileged families to aim for college education and careers in STEM fields.

Aamir’s research interests include equity in STEM education and infusion of open source hardware and software in STEM classrooms through Internet of Things (IoT) Technology. Aamir is also interested in expanding the academic research opportunity to undergraduate students in in-service teachers in K-12. Aamir is an Aggie Research Leader and is active in mentoring undergraduate research scholars. Aamir has presented his research both at regional (SERA, TAMU LAUNCH) and at international (FIE, AERA) educational research conferences. Aamir has three published conference proceedings and is currently working on several research projects dealing with technology and equity in STEM classrooms.


Ganesan.jpgPriyanga Ganesan

TAR Project Abstract

Several classes have transitioned online to combat COVID-19. Instructors have been struggling to get students to interact with them and with each other in an online classroom. This project investigates the use and impact of interactive teaching tools for enhancing student participation in an online learning environment.
 The study is conducted in a synchronous online mathematics course. The instructor incorporates multiple interaction techniques in the lectures including polling tools, virtual reactions and break-out rooms for group-work. Student’s perception of the effectiveness of different teaching techniques is assessed through surveys and reflective assignments.The findings shall reflect which techniques are most appreciated by students and promote student engagement in an online classroom. We believe that our research would be very relevant during the current pandemic, and the results will continue to be useful for online teaching beyond the COVID crisis.

Fellow Biography

Priyanga Ganesan is a Ph.D student in Mathematics at Texas A&M University. She completed a five-year Integrated Master’s program in Mathematics at the National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in India. Her doctoral research focuses on applications of operator algebras in quantum information theory. Upon completing her Ph.D, she aspires to become a Mathematics Professor and help promote diversity and inclusiveness in the scientific community. Ms. Ganesan is actively involved with several student organizations on campus and is passionate about science outreach. She currently serves as the President of the Association for Women in Mathematics TAMU Graduate Student Chapter and as Senior Director for the Indian Graduate Students Association.


Kourtney Gruner

TAR Project Abstract
 
Fellow Biography

 


Liang.pngChen Liang

TAR Project Abstract

As one of the online teaching methods, asynchronous teaching is commonly used to provide a flexible and self-guided learning experience for students. However, it shows that traditional asynchronous methods, such as recorded lectures and long videos, could have a low audience attention. The goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of short videos in increasing students’ attention and retention on class materials compared to long lecture recordings. Specifically, each short video will be a mini lesson discussing a specific concept of a topic instead of merely a shortened lecture recording. In addition, we are also interested in the possibility of generating customized video for students to review concepts that they have not fully mastered yet. Since short videos focus on single concepts instead of full topics, a customized review video can be generated by combining several relevant short videos based on the mistakes a student made in their quizzes or exams, to provide a more efficient way of reviewing the knowledge points that could be helpful for students.
This research will use quizzes and video watching data to verify if short videos outperforms long recordings and will also evaluate whether the customized review videos would be effective for students to improve their understanding of class topics. Feedbacks and suggestions will be collected as well to understand students' opinions on customized short videos.

Fellow Biography

Chen Liang received his Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering from the Ohio State University in 2019. He is now a master student in Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University advised by Dr. Jeeeun Kim. His research interests include human computer interaction, computer vision, and data analytics. He is also interested in teaching and mentoring, and he is a graduate advisor for an undergraduate robotics team helping with computer vision system designs.


Pariafsai.jpgFatemeh Pariafsai

TAR Project Abstract

This research project aims to investigate the effectiveness of using Building Information Modeling (BIM) in developing the skill in reading construction drawings at the undergraduate level. The data will be collected on the skill level of students in three stages. First, students will be familiarized with the major concepts of the course Construction Graphics during several classes. Afterward, their skill level in reading construction drawings will be assessed for the first time. During the next classes, traditional pedagogical methods will be used to teach them how to read construction drawings. At this stage, their skill level in reading construction drawings will be tested for the second time. During the next classes, they will be familiarized with BIM and will be taught how to model buildings in Revit. Afterward, their skill level will be examined or the last time. Finally, their skill level in the three stages will be compared to find if BIM has the potential for being used as a supplementary pedagogical device to facilitate developing the skill in reading construction drawings at the undergraduate level.

Fellow Biography

Fatemeh Pariafsai is a Ph.D. student in Architecture at Texas A&M University. She received her Master’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Islamic Azad University and her Bachelor’s degree in Architectural Engineering from Tehran University of Art in Iran. From 2009 to 2017, she had been working as an adjunct instructor at Islamic Azad University. In 2011, she got her Engineering license in Design and Supervision in Iran, and from 2011 to 2017, she had been working as an official designer and supervisor. From 2017 to 2018, she worked as a graduate research assistant in the Center of Excellence in Construction Education and Research at Texas A&M University. Since fall 2018, she has been working as a graduate teaching assistant for the graduate and undergraduate course Design Process. Her primary research focuses on “Using New Technologies in Construction Education to Fill Skills Gaps among Construction Project Managers.” She currently serves as an international advisory board member for the Society for Advanced Academic Research and Development and as a student member for the American Institute of Architecture.


Pool-Mazun.jpgErick Ivan Pool Mazun

TAR Project Abstract

During 2020, the global lockdown conditions and social distancing measures have forced educational institutions to transition into online platforms to continue with their activities. Video conference platforms turned to be the most popular alternative to continue with courses while keeping students engage by having real-time interaction. However, activities such as laboratories were overlooked and suspended due to its hands-on and face-to-face nature.  As an alternative to solve that problem, this project proposes a hybrid approach to online (engineering) education combining a remote and virtual lab approach for the undergraduate class on Power electronics (ECEN 438) in Fall 2020. By using equipment such as ELVIS III and TI Power Electronics Board, we plan to demonstrate that laboratory activities in the field of electrical engineering can be conducted fully online without compromising the quality of learning experience.

Qualitative statements from participant students will be collected throughout the semester to asses leaning outcomes and engagement levels. Moreover, a technical documentation of the project will be made to help the implementation of a fully online laboratory experience in future iterations of the Power Electronics (ECEN 438) course and other courses such as Electronics (ECEN 325) and Circuit Analysis (ECEN 214).

Fellow Biography

Erick I. Pool-Mazun received the B.S degree in mechatronics engineering from the Autonomous University of Yucatan, Mérida, Mexico, in 2015, and the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA, in 2019, where he is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering in the Power Quality Laboratory. His current research interest include high-frequency rectifiers, solid-state transformers, and control of power electronic systems.


Shikarpuriya-picture.jpg

Sehrish Shikarpuriya

TAR Project Abstract

Inclusive postsecondary education is becoming more commonplace among institutions of higher education. The inclusion of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) via inclusive postsecondary education programs on college campuses is growing. Thus, there is a need to understand the impact of this endeavor on both students and faculty.

While high-school education includes more access to inclusive classrooms and mainstream education, academic courses in college do not necessarily offer the same opportunities. When there are academic courses offered in a college campus that include both individuals with and without IDD, what is that experience like for both faculty and students?

This study aims to explore the expectations and experiences of faculty and students in inclusive academic courses at Texas A&M. Specifically, this study focuses on preparedness, social inclusion, and friendships among students with and without IDD. Instructors of inclusive academic courses complete pre and post surveys which include questions about their preparedness to teach this course, social inclusion in the classroom, and friendships among students with and without IDD in their class. Students enrolled in inclusive academic courses complete pre and post surveys which include questions about student readiness for this inclusive academic course, their expectations and experiences of social inclusion, and development of friendships between themselves and students with IDD. This study will add to the growing literature in the field of inclusive postsecondary education and provide more insight about the impact of inclusive academic courses on faculty and students. It will also identify opportunities to strengthen the support in inclusive academic courses and address any current gaps.

Fellow Biography

Sehrish is a PhD student in special education in the department of educational psychology. She has a Bachelors in Special Education from Emory University and a M.Ed from University College of London. She was an educator for three years in a Texas middle school before pursuing her doctorate at Texas A&M. Her research interests include culturally responsive interventions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, strengthening parent/family preparedness in the field of transition, congregational/faith-based family support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and social experiences in inclusive postsecondary education. 


Tachkova.jpgElina Tachkova

TAR Project Abstract

Online teaching poses multiple challenges for both learners and instructors. A primary concern is how to gain and hold student attention to maximize engagement and promote active learning. Active learning techniques engage students in the learning process by having them apply what they are learning, rather than just passively consuming content (Angelo & Cross, 2012). Additional positive outcomes from using active learning techniques in online classes include the ability to promote interaction between students that encourages peer-to-peer learning, application, and co-creation of knowledge. Lastly, active learning techniques encourage perspective-taking among students and help foster a diverse and inclusive learning environment.
 
Various classroom assessment activities (CATs) can be used to promote active learning in online environments and the purpose of this research project is to empirically test the effectiveness of these CATs in an online setting. Specifically, the project focuses on how the use of active learning classroom activities in an online class can influence student ability to apply course materials and their attitudes towards the class.
 
The project examines the effectiveness of various interactive CATs in stimulating active learning practices in an online teaching environment, specifically a large lecture communication class comprised of students from a wide range of majors. The covid-19 pandemic has created serious challenges for both students and teachers. Many institutions have been forced to implement online teaching, hence the necessity to improve online teaching experiences for students. Furthermore, the project aims to improve online instructional processes and student learning experiences by testing several interactive online-adapted classroom assessment activities.

Fellow Biography

Elina Tachkova is a PhD candidate at the Department of Communication at Texas A&M University. Her research studies the effectiveness of different crisis response strategies on organizational reputation and stakeholder perceptions after a crisis. Her dissertation is investigating the relationship between scandals and crises and the communicative implications it poses for both crisis communication research and practice. Elina’s work has appeared in several international peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Communication Management and Corporate Communication: An International Journal.