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Improving the Implementation of Engineering Design Practices in Secondary Science Classrooms

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Various reports produced by the National Research Council suggest that K-12 curricula expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to better help students develop their ability to reason and employ scientific

Various reports produced by the National Research Council suggest that K-12 curricula expand Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to better help students develop their ability to reason and employ scientific habits rather than simply building scientific knowledge. Every spring, the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) in conjunction with Arizona State University holds a professional development workshop titled "Engineering Practices in the Secondary Science Classroom: Engineering Training for Grade 6-12 Math and Science School Teams". This workshop provides math and science teachers with the opportunity to either sustain existing engineering proficiency or be exposed to engineering design practices for the first time. To build teachers' proficiency with employing engineering design practices, they follow a two-day curriculum designed for application in both science and math classrooms as a conjoined effort. As of spring 2015, very little feedback has been received concerning the effectiveness of the ASU-ADE workshops. New feedback methods have been developed for future deployment as past and more informal immediate feedback from teachers and students was used to create preliminary changes in the workshop curriculum. In addition, basic laboratory testing has been performed to further link together engineering problem solving with experiments and computer modelling. In improving feedback and expanding available material, the curriculum was analyzed and improved to more effectively train teachers in engineering practices and implement these practices in their classrooms.

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  • 2015-05

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Developing Curriculum to Educate Engineers on Unconscious Bias

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Engineers spend several years studying intense technical details of the processes that shape our world, yet few are exposed to classes addressing social behaviors or issues. Engineering culture creates specific

Engineers spend several years studying intense technical details of the processes that shape our world, yet few are exposed to classes addressing social behaviors or issues. Engineering culture creates specific barriers to addressing social science issues, such as unconscious bias, within engineering classrooms. I developed a curriculum that uses optical illusions, Legos, and the instructor's vulnerability to tackle unconscious bias in a way that addresses the barriers in engineering culture that prevent engineers from learning social science issues. Unconscious bias has documented long-term negative impacts on success and personal development, even in engineering environments. Creating a module in engineering education that addresses unconscious bias with the aim of reducing the negative effects of bias would benefit developing engineers by improving product development and team diversity. Engineering culture fosters disengagement with social issues through three pillars: depoliticization, technical/social dualism, and meritocracy. The developed curriculum uses optical illusions and Legos as proxies to start discussions about unconscious bias. The proxies allow engineers to explore their own biases without running into one of the pillars of disengagement that limits the engineer's willingness to discuss social issues. The curriculum was implemented in the Fall of 2017 in an upper-division engineering classroom as a professional communication module. The module received qualitatively positive feedback from fellow instructors and students. The curriculum was only implemented once by the author, but future implementations should be done with a different instructor and using quantitative data to measure if the learning objectives were achieved. Appendix A of the paper contains a lesson plan of the module that could be implemented by other instructors.

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  • 2017-05

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SAVE ANVORUNA: THE IMPACT OF SOCIAL RELEVANCE IN COMPUTER SYSTEMS ENGINEERING

Description

The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the

The goal of this research study was to empirically study the effects of a project based learning activity. The effectiveness of this study was benchmarked according to two results: the effectiveness in communicating the scope and impact of engineering, and the effectiveness in increasing interest in computer systems engineering (CSE). This research report presents an analysis of the effects of making engineering education socially relevant, interesting and accessible. High school students participated in a learning experience in which they designed flood evacuation systems that could warn a city of incoming floods. Both pre-assessments and post-assessments were implemented to capture students' awareness of engineering tasks and their interest levels in engineering tasks. Data on students' perceptions of specific engineering tasks were analyzed quantitatively through Wilcoxon signed-rank testing and determined that the program had significant positive effects on developing more accurate conceptions of engineering tasks. The results relating to student interest in CSE indicated that there was an increased level of interest in CSE engineering tasks after the program. There was a 14% increase in number of students who found engineering tasks interesting from 64% to 78%. However, as participants self-selected to participate in this learning experience, many students had positive perceptions of engineering tasks prior to engaging in the learning experience. This study was successful and met both of its primary goals of enhancing awareness and interest in engineering in this particular group of high school students.

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  • 2017-05

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Closing the Gap: An Investigation into the Barriers and Enablers to Cooperative Education at the New American University

Description

Cooperative education has a long-standing tradition within engineering education. As part of the experiential education field, it carries many success stories. Several universities offer a robust cooperative education track. In

Cooperative education has a long-standing tradition within engineering education. As part of the experiential education field, it carries many success stories. Several universities offer a robust cooperative education track. In recent years, Arizona State University has made the decision to formalize a cooperative education program. Arizona State University, like many other institutions, has long since provided career support and promoted internships as an excellent work experience option before graduation. The decision to formalize a cooperative education program speaks to a need for a more rigorous path to work experience for engineering students. This paper is an investigation into the barriers and enablers behind a young cooperative education program. These results indicate that while students do benefit from the program, growth of the program may be tied to creating a meaningful distinction between cooperative education and other learning opportunities.

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  • 2017-05

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Investigation of Student Achievement and Attitude about a Flipped Classroom Using Linked Lecture Videos in Biomedical Engineering

Description

Flipped classrooms invert the traditional teaching methods and deliver the lecture online outside of the classroom. An increase in technology accessibility is increasing the prevalence of this teaching technique in

Flipped classrooms invert the traditional teaching methods and deliver the lecture online outside of the classroom. An increase in technology accessibility is increasing the prevalence of this teaching technique in universities. In this study, we aim to address some of the uncertainties of a flipped classroom by implementing a new lecture format in Transport Phenomena. Transport Phenomena is a junior level biomedical engineering course originally flipped in Spring 2013. Since transitioning to a flipped classroom, students have been required to watch 75-minute lectures outside of class where the instructor covered key concepts and examples using paper and marker on a document camera. In class, students then worked in groups to solve problems with instructor and teaching assistant feedback. Students also completed self-graded homework with the opportunity to earn lost points back by discussing fundamental misconceptions. We are introducing re-formatted mini lectures that contain the same content broken down as well as example problems worked out in a tutorial technique instead of traditional solving method. The purpose of this study is to determine the effectiveness of newly created mini lectures with integrated questions and links in terms of student achievement and attitude [interest, utility, and "cost" (time, effort, and emotion)].

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Disillusioned By Engineering, or "Why Do Capable People Leave Engineering?"

Description

This study, using personal experience as a basis for curiosity, seeks to explore why some portion of engineering students change their majors, whom I am calling "switchers." Another set of

This study, using personal experience as a basis for curiosity, seeks to explore why some portion of engineering students change their majors, whom I am calling "switchers." Another set of students are "persisters," or students who are still currently enrolled in engineering but have considered other paths. In collecting data, two students from each set, within the author's social network, were interviewed. Articles primarily concerning attrition and retention within engineering education were surveyed in this study. The literature's reasons for leaving engineering were tabulated and used to code these interviews, then the trends outside of this table were studied. The literature and all interviewees both stated that engineering students struggle with poor teachers, poor teaching methods, poor curriculum, and a lack of time. Outside of the literature, job prospects caused the interviewed students to feel trapped in engineering. Whether to take this study beyond the exploratory stage, and how to do that, is being considered currently.

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  • 2017-12

Reflections on Engineering School from Practicing Engineers

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This study was conducted to look for ways to improve engineering school in order to maximize student benefit. The results of the survey showed that additional communication and professional

This study was conducted to look for ways to improve engineering school in order to maximize student benefit. The results of the survey showed that additional communication and professional interaction lessons as well as more emphasis on software and programming languages would help prepare engineers for their careers. There was unanimous support of communication materials from survey respondents, with constructive confrontation and career path discussion receiving the most positive feedback. Due to the unanimous support of communications material, and the fact that short communications lessons could drive home key points without adding too much work to engineering students’ already busy schedules, two short lesson outlines for constructive confrontation and career path discussion were produced for this study.

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  • 2020-12

Supplemental Lecture Videos to Aide in the Transition from a Traditional Learning Environment to an Engaged Learning Environment

Description

Teaching methods in the present day are beginning to transition from the traditional lecture style to the flipped learning style. The flipped classroom, also known as an engaged learning classroom,

Teaching methods in the present day are beginning to transition from the traditional lecture style to the flipped learning style. The flipped classroom, also known as an engaged learning classroom, follows the model where students are presented with lecture material prior to attending class. Instead of being lectured in class, they work on applications of the material with the help of their peers and the instructional staff. One component that many engaged learning environments have in common is lecture videos for the students to view prior to attending class. An undergraduate civil engineering course at Arizona State University is modeled using an engaged learning environment; however, it does not provide lecture videos for the students. Many students in this course are seeing an engaged learning environment for the first time and need guidance on how to prepare for the course, how to approach course material, and how to interpret feedback, in addition to getting help in the technical concepts. This project aims to create supplemental lecture videos based on the concepts that students in the class identified as needing more information, as well as topics that will help students make this transition to an engaged learning environment. A series of sixteen videos were created and posted for the students to view prior to attending recitation periods. The feedback from the students regarding the videos was studied and implementation techniques for future semesters were tested.

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  • 2015-12

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Assessment of Student Responses to Various Resources Offered in Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science Courses

Description

To supplement lectures, various resources are available to students; however, little research has been done to look systematically at which resources studies find most useful and the frequency at which

To supplement lectures, various resources are available to students; however, little research has been done to look systematically at which resources studies find most useful and the frequency at which they are used. We have conducted a preliminary study looking at various resources available in an introductory material science course over four semesters using a custom survey called the Student Resource Value Survey (SRVS). More specifically, the SRVS was administered before each test to determine which resources students use to do well on exams. Additionally, over the course of the semester, which resources students used changed. For instance, study resources for exams including the use of homework problems decreased from 81% to 50%, the utilization of teaching assistant for exam studying increased from 25% to 80%, the use of in class Muddiest Points for exam study increased form 28% to 70%, old exams and quizzes only slightly increased for exam study ranging from 78% to 87%, and the use of drop-in tutoring services provided to students at no charge decreased from 25% to 17%. The data suggest that students thought highly of peer interactions by using those resources more than tutoring centers. To date, no research has been completed looking at courses at the department level or a different discipline. To this end, we adapted the SRVS administered in material science to investigate resource use in thirteen biomedical engineering (BME) courses. Here, we assess the following research question: "From a variety of resources, which do biomedical engineering students feel addresses difficult concept areas, prepares them for examinations, and helps in computer-aided design (CAD) and programming the most and with what frequency?" The resources considered include teaching assistants, classroom notes, prior exams, homework problems, Muddiest Points, office hours, tutoring centers, group study, and the course textbook. Results varied across the four topical areas: exam study, difficult concept areas, CAD software, and math-based programming. When preparing for exams and struggling with a learning concept, the most used and useful resources were: 1) homework problems, 2) class notes and 3) group studying. When working on math-based programming (Matlab and Mathcad) as well as computer-aided design, the most used and useful resources were: 1) group studying, 2) engineering tutoring center, and 3) undergraduate teaching assistants. Concerning learning concepts and exams in the BME department, homework problems and class notes were considered some of the highest-ranking resources for both frequency and usefulness. When comparing to the pilot study in MSE, both BME and MSE students tend to highly favor peer mentors and old exams as a means of studying for exams at the end of the semester1. Because the MSE course only considered exams, we cannot make any comparisons to BME data concerning programming and CAD. This analysis has highlighted potential resources that are universally beneficial, such as the use of peer work, i.e. group studying, engineering tutoring center, and teaching assistants; however, we see differences by both discipline and topical area thereby highlighting the need to determine important resources on a class-by-class basis as well.

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  • 2016-05

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Understanding and Predicting Persistence in First Year Engineering Students

Description

Based on James Marcia's theory, identity development in youth is the degree to which one has explored and committed to a vocation [1], [2]. During the path to an engineering

Based on James Marcia's theory, identity development in youth is the degree to which one has explored and committed to a vocation [1], [2]. During the path to an engineering identity, students will experience a crisis, when one's values and choices are examined and reevaluated, and a commitment, when the outcome of the crisis leads the student to commit to becoming an engineer. During the crisis phase, students are offered a multitude of experiences to shape their values and choices to influence commitment to becoming an engineering student. Student's identities in engineering are fostered through mentoring from industry, alumni, and peer coaching [3], [4]; experiences that emphasize awareness of the importance of professional interactions [5]; and experiences that show creativity, collaboration, and communication as crucial components to engineering. Further strategies to increase students' persistence include support in their transition to becoming an engineering student, education about professional engineers and the workplace [6], and engagement in engineering activities beyond the classroom. Though these strategies are applied to all students, there are challenges students face in confronting their current identity and beliefs before they can understand their value to society and achieve personal satisfaction. To understand student's progression in developing their engineering identity, first year engineering students were surveyed at the beginning and end of their first semester. Students were asked to rate their level of agreement with 22 statements about their engineering experience. Data included 840 cases. Items with factor loading less than 0.6 suggesting no sufficient explanation were removed in successive factor analysis to identify the four factors. Factor analysis indicated that 60.69% of the total variance was explained by the successive factors. Survey questions were categorized into three factors: engineering identity as defined by sense of belonging and self-efficacy, doubts about becoming an engineer, and exploring engineering. Statements in exploring engineering indicated student awareness, interest and enjoyment within engineering. Students were asked to think about whether they spent time learning what engineers do and participating in engineering activities. Statements about doubts about engineering to engineering indicated whether students had formed opinions about their engineering experience and had understanding about their environment. Engineering identity required thought in belonging and self-efficacy. Belonging statements called for thought about one's opinion in the importance of being an engineer, the meaning of engineering, an attachment to engineering, and self-identification as an engineer. Statements about self-efficacy required students to contemplate their personal judgement of whether they would be able to succeed and their ability to become an engineer. Effort in engineering indicated student willingness to invest time and effort and their choices and effort in their engineering discipline.

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  • 2018-05