Wheeler Practices the Art of Redesign
East Carolina University
When you’re a contractor with more than 20 years’ experience, the concept of redesign is not a new one. But Bryan Wheeler chose to redesign his construction management course at ECU rather than a physical project.
A charter graduate of ECU’s construction management program in 1984, Wheeler returned to the campus seven years ago as a teaching instructor. He chose to review and redesign his Construction Management 2400/01: Building Systems and Codes Course using principles of Universal Design for Learning that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn.
Wheeler used these three principles for curriculum development:
- Representation: the “what” of learning
- Action and Expression: the “how” of learning
- Engagement: the “why” of learning
He was trying to address passive learning in the classroom, limited student understanding of course applications to the professional setting and overall student engagement.
Strategies infused into the redesigned course included:
- An updated syllabus
- Weekly reading assignments posted on Blackboard
- Weekly Power Points posted on Blackboard
- Multiple examples of actual job site experiences infused into lecture and lab activities.
- Hands on safety and method training
- Weekly reminders of support and encouragement.
Mr. Wheeler discusses the day's activities with a student before class.
“Mr. Wheeler is probably the best professor I have ever had,” said one ECU student. “He is very open to comments and is patient. He has a unique combination for teaching. He uses visual and interactive learning as well as lectures to his classes. It is very helpful."
Not only were the students happy, the course outcomes improved. Students demonstrated strong motivation during the final project and engagement with the team competition design project. They responded positively to the change in the course work. They were inspired to fill in the blanks on Power Points and respond to questions more readily during lectures.
This course was one of four targeted for revision. So like any good project manager, Wheeler is looking forward to building on his success and starting work on the next challenge.