- NSF-PAR ID:
- Date Published:
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- 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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Major challenges in engineering education include retention of undergraduate engineering students (UESs) and continued engagement after the first year when concepts increase in difficulty. Additionally, employers, as well as ABET, look for students to demonstrate non-technical skills, including the ability to work successfully in groups, the ability to communicate both within and outside their discipline, and the ability to find information that will help them solve problems and contribute to lifelong learning. Teacher education is also facing challenges given the recent incorporation of engineering practices and core ideas into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and state level standards of learning. To help teachers meet these standards in their classrooms, education courses for preservice teachers (PSTs) must provide resources and opportunities to increase science and engineering knowledge, and the associated pedagogies. To address these challenges, Ed+gineering, an NSF-funded multidisciplinary collaborative service learning project, was implemented into two sets of paired-classes in engineering and education: a 100 level mechanical engineering class (n = 42) and a foundations class in education (n = 17), and a fluid mechanics class in mechanical engineering technology (n = 23) and a science methods class (n = 15). The paired classes collaborated in multidisciplinary teams of 5-8 undergraduate students to plan and teach engineering lessons to local elementary school students. Teams completed a series of previously tested, scaffolded activities to guide their collaboration. Designing and delivering lessons engaged university students in collaborative processes that promoted social learning, including researching and planning, peer mentoring, teaching and receiving feedback, and reflecting and revising their engineering lesson. The research questions examined in this pilot, mixed-methods research study include: (1) How did PSTs’ Ed+gineering experiences influence their engineering and science knowledge?; (2) How did PSTs’ and UESs’ Ed+gineering experiences influence their pedagogical understanding?; and (3) What were PSTs’ and UESs’ overall perceptions of their Ed+gineering experiences? Both quantitative (e.g., Engineering Design Process assessment, Science Content Knowledge assessment) and qualitative (student reflections) data were used to assess knowledge gains and project perceptions following the semester-long intervention. Findings suggest that the PSTs were more aware and comfortable with the engineering field following lesson development and delivery, and often better able to explain particular science/engineering concepts. Both PSTs and UESs, but especially the latter, came to realize the importance of planning and preparing lessons to be taught to an audience. UESs reported greater appreciation for the work of educators. PSTs and UESs expressed how they learned to work in groups with multidisciplinary members—this is a valuable lesson for their respective professional careers. Yearly, the Ed+gineering research team will also request and review student retention reports in their respective programs to assess project impact.more » « less
null (Ed.)Abstract The capabilities of additive manufacturing (AM) open up designers’ solution space and enable them to build designs previously impossible through traditional manufacturing (TM). To leverage this design freedom, designers must emphasize opportunistic design for AM (DfAM), i.e., design techniques that leverage AM capabilities. Additionally, designers must also emphasize restrictive DfAM, i.e., design considerations that account for AM limitations, to ensure that their designs can be successfully built. Therefore, designers must adopt a “dual” design mindset—emphasizing both, opportunistic and restrictive DfAM—when designing for AM. However, to leverage AM capabilities, designers must not only generate creative ideas for AM but also select these creative ideas during the concept selection stage. Design educators must specifically emphasize selecting creative ideas in DfAM, as ideas perceived as infeasible through the traditional design for manufacturing lens may now be feasible with AM. This emphasis could prevent creative but feasible ideas from being discarded due to their perceived infeasibility. While several studies have discussed the role of DfAM in encouraging creative idea generation, there is a need to investigate concept selection in DfAM. In this paper, we investigated the effects of four variations in DfAM education: (1) restrictive, (2) opportunistic, (3) restrictive followed by opportunistic (R-O), and (4) opportunistic followed by restrictive (O-R), on students’ concept selection process. We compared the creativity of the concepts generated by students to the creativity of the concepts they selected. The creativity of designs was measured on four dimensions: (1) uniqueness, (2) usefulness, (3) technical goodness, and (4) overall creativity. We also performed qualitative analyses to gain insight into the rationale provided by students when making their design decisions. From the results, we see that only teams from the restrictive and dual O-R groups selected ideas of higher uniqueness and overall creativity. In contrast, teams from the dual R-O DfAM group selected ideas of lower uniqueness compared with the mean uniqueness of ideas generated. Finally, we see that students trained in opportunistic DfAM emphasized minimizing build material the most, whereas those trained only in restrictive DfAM emphasized minimizing build time. These results highlight the need for DfAM education to encourage AM designers to not just generate creative ideas but also have the courage to select them for the next stage of design.more » « less
In 2019, University of Houston (UH) at Houston, Texas was awarded an NSF Research Experience for Teachers (RET) site grant titled “RET Site: High School Teacher Experience in Engineering Design and Manufacturing.” The goal of the project is to host 12 high school teachers each summer to participate in engineering design and manufacturing research and then convert their experience into high school curriculum. In summer of 2021, the first cohort of 12 teachers from Region 4 of Southeast Texas participated in the RET program at UH College of Technology (COT). This six-week program, open to local high school STEM teachers in Texas, sought to advance educators’ knowledge of concepts in design and manufacturing as a means of enriching high school curriculums and meeting foundational standards set by 2013’s Texas House Bill 5. These standards require enhanced STEM contents in high school curricula as a prerequisite for graduation, detailed in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standard. Due to the pandemic situation, about 50% of the activities are online and the rest are face to face. About 40% of the time, teachers attended online workshops to enhance their knowledge of topics in engineering design and manufacturing before embarking on applicable research projects in the labs. Six UH COT engineering technology professors each led workshops in a week. The four tenure-track engineering mentors, assisted by student research assistants, each mentored three teachers on projects ranging from additive manufacturing to thermal/fluids, materials, and energy. The group also participated in field trips to local companies including ARC Specialties, Master Flo, Re:3D, and Forged Components. They worked with two instructional track engineering technology professors and one professor of education on applying their learnings to lesson plan design. Participants also met weekly for online Brown Bag teacher seminars to share their experiences and discuss curricula, which was organized by the RET master teacher. On the final day of the program, the teachers presented their curriculum prototype for the fall semester to the group and received completion certificates. The program assessment was led by the assessment specialist, Director of Assessment and Accreditation at UH COT. Teacher participants found the research experience with their mentors beneficial not only to them, but also to their students according to our findings from interviews. The mentors will visit their mentees’ classrooms to see the lesson plans being implemented. In the spring of 2022, the teachers will present their refined curricula at a RET symposium to be organized at UH and submit their standards-aligned plans to teachengineering.org for other K-12 educators to access.more » « less
Online modes of teaching and learning have gained increased attention following the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in education delivery trends likely to continue for the foreseeable future. It is therefore critical to understand the implications for student learning outcomes and their interest in or affinity towards the subject, particularly in water science classes, where educators have traditionally employed hands-on outdoor activities that are difficult to replicate online. In this study, we share our experiences adapting a field-based laboratory activity on groundwater to accommodate more than 700 students in our largest-enrollment general education course during the pandemic. As part of our adaptation strategy, we offered two versions of the same exercise, one in-person at the Mirror Lake Water Science Learning Laboratory, located on Ohio State University’s main campus, and one online. Although outdoor lab facilities have been used by universities since at least the 1970s, this research is novel in that 1) it considers not only student achievement but also affinity for the subject, 2) it is the first of its kind on The Ohio State University’s main campus, and 3) it was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when most university classes were unable to take traditional field trips. We used laboratory grades and a survey to assess differences in student learning and affinity outcomes for in-person and online exercises. Students who completed the in-person exercise earned better scores than their online peers. For example, in Fall 2021, the median lab score for the in-person group was 97.8%, compared to 91.7% for the online group. The in-person group also reported a significant ( p < 0.05) increase in how much they enjoyed learning about water, while online students reported a significant decrease. Online students also reported a significant decrease in how likely they would be to take another class in water or earth sciences. It is unclear whether the in-person exercise had better learning and affinity outcomes because of the hands-on, outdoor qualities of the lab or because the format allowed greater interaction among peers and teaching instructors (TAs). To mitigate disparities in student learning outcomes between the online and in-person course delivery, instructors will implement future changes to the online version of the lab to enhance interactions among students and TAs.more » « less
Design teams are often asked to produce solutions of a certain type in response to design challenges. Depending on the circumstances, they may be tasked with generating a solution that clearly follows the given specifications and constraints of a problem (i.e., a Best Fit solution), or they may be encouraged to provide a higher risk solution that challenges those constraints, but offers other potential rewards (i.e., a Dark Horse solution). In the current research, we investigate: what happens when design teams are asked to generate solutions of both types at the same time? How does this request for dual and conflicting modes of thinking impact a team’s design solutions? In addition, as concept generation proceeds, are design teams able to discern which solution fits best in each category? Rarely, in design research, do we prompt design teams for “normal” designs or ask them to think about both types of solutions (boundary preserving and boundary challenging) at the same time. This leaves us with the additional question: can design teams tell the difference between Best Fit solutions and Dark Horse solutions?
In this paper, we present the results of an exploratory study with 17 design teams from five different organizations. Each team was asked to generate both a Best Fit solution and a Dark Horse solution in response to the same design prompt. We analyzed these solutions using rubrics based on familiar design metrics (feasibility, usefulness, and novelty) to investigate their characteristics. Our assumption was that teams’ Dark Horse solutions would be more novel, less feasible, but equally useful when compared with their Best Fit solutions. Our analysis revealed statistically significant results showing that teams generally produced Best Fit solutions that were more useful (met client needs) than Dark Horse solutions, and Dark Horse solutions that were more novel than Best Fit solutions. When looking at each team individually, however, we found that Dark Horse concepts were not always more novel than Best Fit concepts for every team, despite the general trend in that direction. Some teams created equally novel Best Fit and Dark Horse solutions, and a few teams generated Best Fit solutions that were more novel than their Dark Horse solutions. In terms of feasibility, Best Fit and Dark Horse solutions did not show significant differences. These findings have implications for both design educators and design practitioners as they frame design prompts and tasks for their teams of interest.