skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on September 1, 2023

Title: E-Chem Education
The case for making Electrochemical Science and Engineering part of the core chemical engineering curriculum
Authors:
Award ID(s):
2143056
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10358311
Journal Name:
The Electrochemical Society Interface
Volume:
31
Issue:
3
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
50 to 52
ISSN:
1064-8208
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. As K-12 engineering education becomes more ubiquitous in the U.S, increased attention has been paid to preparing the heterogeneous group of in-service teachers who have taken on the challenge of teaching engineering. Standards have emerged for professional development along with research on teacher learning in engineering that call for teachers to facilitate and support engineering learning environments. Given that many teachers may not have experienced engineering practice calls have been made to engage teaches K-12 teachers in the “doing” of engineering as part of their preparation. However, there is a need for research studying more specific nature of the “doing” and the instructional implications for engaging teachers in “doing” engineering. In general, to date, limited time and constrained resources necessitate that many professional development programs for K-12 teachers to engage participants in the same engineering activities they will enact with their students. While this approach supports teachers’ familiarity with curriculum and ability to anticipate students’ ideas, there is reason to believe that these experiences may not be authentic enough to support teachers in developing a rich understanding of the “doing” of engineering. K-12 teachers are often familiar with the materials and curricular solutions, given their experiences as adults, which meansmore »that engaging in the same tasks as their students may not be challenging enough to develop their understandings about engineering. This can then be consequential for their pedagogy: In our prior work, we found that teachers’ linear conceptions of the engineering design process can limit them from recognizing and supporting student engagement in productive design practices. Research on the development of engineering design practices with adults in undergraduate and professional engineering settings has shown significant differences in how adults approach and understand problems. Therefore, we conjectured that engaging teachers in more rigorous engineering challenges designed for adult engineering novices would more readily support their developing rich understandings of the ways in which professional engineers move through the design process. We term this approach meaningful engineering for teachers, and it is informed by work in science education that highlights the importance of learning environments creating a need for learners to develop and engage in disciplinary practices. We explored this approach to teachers’ professional learning experiences in doing engineering in an online graduate program for in-service teachers in engineering education at Tufts University entitled the Teacher Engineering Education Program (teep.tufts.edu). In this exploratory study, we asked: 1. How did teachers respond to engaging in meaningful engineering for teachers in the TEEP program? 2. What did teachers identify as important things they learned about engineering content and pedagogy? This paper focuses on one theme that emerged from teachers’ reflections. Our analysis found that teachers reported that meaningful engineering supported their development of epistemic empathy (“the act of understanding and appreciating someone's cognitive and emotional experience within an epistemic activity”) as a result of their own affective experiences in doing engineering that required significant iteration as well as using novel robotic materials. We consider how epistemic empathy may be an important aspect of teacher learning in K-12 engineering education and the potential implications for designing engineering teacher education.« less
  2. National reports have indicated colleges and universities need to increase the number of students graduating with engineering degrees to meet anticipated job openings in the near-term future. Fields like engineering are critical to the nation’s economic strength and competitiveness globally, and engineering expertise is needed to solve society’s most pressing problems. Yet only about 40% of students who aspire to an engineering degree follow the path to complete one, and an even smaller percentage of those students continue into an engineering career. Underlying students’ motivation to transform their engineering interest into an engineering career is the psychological construct of engineering identity. Engineering identity reflects the extent to which a person identifies with being an engineer. Previous research has focused on experiences or interventions that promote engineering identity, and some qualitative work has suggested students who are retained in engineering experience differences in engineering identity, but little research has tested the relationship between retention and engineering identity, especially modeling change in engineering identity over four years of college. The data for this study were taken from the 2013 College Senior Survey (CSS), administered to students at the end of their fourth year of college by the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP)more »at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA. Students’ responses to CSS items were then matched to their responses to the Freshman Survey (TFS), also administered by CIRP, at the very beginning of their first year of college. For this study, all students who indicated their intended major as engineering at the start of college constituted the sample, which included 1205 students at 72 universities. The dependent variable is a dichotomous variable indicating if students marked engineering as their major at the end of the fourth year of college. The main independent variable of interest in this study is engineering identity. Engineering identity was computed using exploratory factor analysis with three items from the CSS indicating the importance to students of becoming an authority in their chosen field, being recognized for contributions to their field, and making theoretical contributions to science. Hierarchical generalized linear modeling with robust standard errors was used to model engineering retention as the dependent variable was dichotomous in nature and the data were “nested” in structure (students nested within universities). Control variables include a pretest of engineering identity from the TFS, college experiences known to predict retention and other outcomes in engineering, demographic variables, precollege academic preparation, choice of engineering major, academic and social self-concept at college entry, and institutional characteristics. In the final model, engineering identity was a significant predictor of engineering retention, controlling for all other factors including the engineering identity pretest.« less
  3. Contribution: This study shows that identification with engineering for engineering graduate students is positively and significantly predicted by engineering interest, competence, recognition, and interpersonal skills competence. Background: Prior studies of engineering identity on undergraduates identified several factors (e.g., engineering interest, engineering recognition) as positive predictors of identification of engineering. Engineering competence, achieved by participating in design projects, is a crucial part of students’ efforts to become more innovative engineers. Identity theory is used to understand undergraduates’ persistence in engineering, as students with stronger engineering identification are more likely to persist. More work is needed focusing on graduate students. Research Questions: Do engineering identity measurement frameworks studied for undergraduate students also apply to graduate students? Do they correlate with intention to complete the degree? What predicts the engineering identity of engineering Master's and doctoral students? Methodology: Interviews informed development and adaptation of a multi-scale survey instrument. Factor analyses identified four factors that relate to graduate engineering identity: engineering interest, engineering recognition, engineering competence, and interpersonal skills competence. Three sequential multiple linear regression models were used to predict engineering graduate students’ engineering identity. Findings: The final regression model, which includes student characteristics and the four factors resulting from Confirmatory Factor Analysis, predictsmore »60% of the variance in engineering identity—substantially more than similar undergraduate engineering identity models. All four factors were significant and positive predictors of graduate students’ engineering identity. The engineering recognition factor in particular needed adaptation to emphasize peers and faculty members over family, although family remained important.« less
  4. In the past decade, reports such as the National Academies' "Engineering in K-12 Education: Understanding the Status and Improving the Prospects" (2009) have discussed the importance of – and challenges of – effectively incorporating engineering concepts into the K-12 curriculum. Multiple reports have echoed and further elaborated on the need to effectively and authentically introduce engineering within K-12; not just to address a perpetual shortage of engineers, but to increase technological literacy within the U.S. The NSF-funded initiative Engineering for US All (E4USA): A National Pilot Program for High School Engineering Course and Database curriculum was intentionally designed ‘for us all;’ in other words, the design is meant to be inclusive and to engage in an examination and exploration of ‘engineering’. The intent behind the ‘for us all’ curriculum is to emphasize the idea of thinking like an engineer, rather than simply to develop more engineers. Therefore, the focus is not on ‘how to become an engineer’ but ‘what is an engineer’ and ‘who is an engineer’. This paper will discuss the design of the first iteration of the curriculum. The initial design was based on the First Year Engineering Classification Scheme, used to classify all possible content found inmore »first-year, multidisciplinary Introduction to Engineering courses in general-admit (non direct-admit) engineering programs. The curriculum provides progressively larger engineering design experiences relating to student fields of interest and real-world problems. Course objectives are broken into four major threads. Each of these threads is woven through seven modules. The threads are: Discovering Engineering, Engineering in Society, Engineering Professional Skills, and Engineering Design. This paper will discuss the design of the first iteration of the curriculum. The initial design was based on the First Year Engineering Classification Scheme, used to classify all possible content found in first-year, multidisciplinary Introduction to Engineering courses in general-admit (non direct-admit) engineering programs. The curriculum provides progressively larger engineering design experiences relating to student fields of interest and real-world problems. Course objectives are broken into four major threads. Each of these threads is woven through seven modules. The threads are: Discovering Engineering, Engineering in Society, Engineering Professional Skills, and Engineering Design.« less
  5. The role of modern engineers as problem-definer often require collaborating with cross-disciplinary teams of professionals to understand and effectively integrate the role of other disciplines and accelerate innovation. To prepare future engineers for this emerging role, undergraduate engineering students should engage in collaborative and interdisciplinary activities with faculties and students from various disciplines (e.g., engineering and social science). Such cross-disciplinary experiences of undergraduate engineering students are not common in today’s university curriculum. Through a project funded by the division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) of the National Science Foundation (NSF), a research team of the West Virginia University developed and offered a Holistic Engineering Project Experience (HEPE) to the engineering students. Holistic engineering is an approach catering to the overall engineering profession, instead of focusing on any distinctive engineering discipline such as electrical, civil, chemical, or mechanical engineering. Holistic Engineering is based upon the fact that the traditional engineering courses do not offer sufficient non-technical skills to the engineering students to work effectively in cross-disciplinary social problems (e.g., development of transportation systems and services). The Holistic Engineering approach enables engineering students to learn non-engineering skills (e.g., strategic communication skills) beyond engineering math and sciences, which play a critical rolemore »in solving complex 21st-century engineering problems. The research team offered the HEPE course in Spring 2020 semester, where engineering students collaborated with social science students (i.e., students from economics and strategic communication disciplines) to solve a contemporary, complex, open-ended transportation engineering problem with social consequences. Social science students also received the opportunity to develop a better understanding of technical aspects in science and engineering. The open ended problem presented to the students was to “Restore and Improve Urban Infrastructure” in connection to the future deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles, which is identified as a grand challenge by the National Academy of Engineers (NAE) [1].« less