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Title: Partnering with undergraduate engineering students to unearth cultural practices within a Science, Technology, and Society (STS) program
Our research team is currently conducting an ethnographic investigation of a Science, Technology, and Society Living Learning Community (STS-LLC). Our investigation focuses on understanding how engineering students’ macro-ethical reasoning develops within the cultural practices of this community. Our approach to this investigation deliberately partners faculty research leads and a group of undergraduate research fellows (RFs) chosen based on their “insider” status within the STS-LLC cohort being investigated. This collaboration required building substantial infrastructure and routines for disrupting the usual hierarchies that exist between researchers and “participants.” This paper will share multiple perspectives, from both RFs and research leads, on the mutually beneficial relationships that emerged within this research collaboration. We will draw on research team meeting notes, research team meeting recordings, and formative feedback survey responses to support our claims. Research leads will share their perspectives on recruiting, onboarding and working with the RFs and describe some of the macro-ethical considerations that motivated their partnership with RFs. RFs will also describe the multiplicity of ways they have participated in and benefited from this research collaboration. This paper will share sociotechnical innovations that supported the development of effective co-learning and co-working processes. These innovations will be described both in terms of the activities, routines, and artifacts that structured our work and the purposes these activities served. Some innovations were constructed by the research leads in order to: (a) support collaboration and mutual engagement, (b) support engineering students in developing competence with ethnographic methods, (c) expand awareness of the engineering education research literature, (d) empower students to refine their own thinking about macroethics and the purpose of education, (e) recognize particular “knowledge-building” games within research activities, and (f) create space for students’ values and political agendas to shape the direction of the research. We will share some example innovations that were iteratively refined in dialogue with RFs and other example innovations that were developed through the process of coworking with RFs, such as GroupMe communication channels, multi-vocal field noting, and prompts for scaffolding reflections on classroom events. We will describe how the deliberate social and technical organization of this collaboration enabled particular forms of mutually beneficial relationships.  more » « less
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Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN
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National Science Foundation
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