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  1. This paper discusses the instructional design experiences and processes shared by a multi-disciplinary group—including more than a dozen faculty, staff, and students—while developing a series of online courses on Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE) for professional engineers, a project sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The team size, the complexity and uniqueness of the subject matter, the targeted learners, and the pre-determined research questions created a rare situation in which the team members collaborated and/or negotiated outside the realm of the traditional instructional design process. Over time the team went through two different types of instructional design processes, beginning with a waterfall-type process where the communication between the subject matter experts (SME) and the design team was somewhat limited and finally evolving to a collaborative process where the interaction between the two teams was more direct and immediate. The evolution of the design process and the dynamics between the SMEs and the design team resulted in several major design revisions implemented to improve the quality of the online courses.

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  2. This full research paper presents the exploratory factor analysis (EFA) results for the Professional Skill Opportunities survey (PSO) we designed to measure undergraduate engineering students’ opportunities to develop and practice important nontechnical professional skills. We use Dall’alba’s “ways of being” as the theoretical framework for the survey development and generated construct definitions based on past literature, expert review, and cognitive think-aloud interviews. We administered the survey in an engineering class at the beginning of the Spring 2022 semester. After comparing the three EFA models based on goodness-of-fit indices and model interpretability aligned to the theoretical model, the researchers selected a five-factor model. The EFA result and literature on leadership and teamwork showed these two skills are highly interrelated and could be combined into one construct to stress the “sharedness” of leadership responsibilities in teams. The result allowed our team to refine our item pool, revise construct definitions, and generate new items. In future work, we will administer the revised PSO survey to the same population at the end of the same semester as further validation. We also plan to explore the relationship between professional skill development opportunities and students’ social support. We hope the PSO survey can provide educators and institutions a means to offer scaffoldings and more opportunities for professional skill development and better prepare students for the engineering workforce. 
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  3. This Research Work-In-Progress reports the implementation of an Object Assembly Test for sketching skills in an undergraduate mechanical engineering graphics course. Sketching is essential for generating and refining ideas, and for communication among team members. Design thinking is supported through sketching as a means of translating between internal and external representations, and creating shared representations of collaborative thinking. While many spatial tests exist in engineering education, these tests have not directly used sketching or tested sketching skill. The Object Assembly Test is used to evaluate sketching skills on 3-dimensional mental imagery and mental rotation tasks in 1- and 2-point perspective. We describe revisions to the Object Assembly Test skills and grading rubric since its pilot test, and implement the test in an undergraduate mechanical engineering course for further validation. We summarize inter-rater reliability for each sketching exercise and for each grading metric for a sample of sketches, with discussion of score use and interpretation. 
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  4. Sketching is a valuable skill in engineering for representing information, developing design ideas, and communicating technical and abstract information. It is an important means of developing spatial abilities which are predictive of success in STEM fields. While existing spatial ability tests are predictive of engineering visualization skills, they do not allow students to develop drawing skills through spatial exercises. The Object Assembly Sketching test examines sketching skills with object assembly tasks using mental imagery and mental rotation. This study focuses on the development and pilot testing of a new sketching skills test using object assembly exercises. We piloted the test in two sections of an undergraduate mechanical engineering design course. Inter-rater reliability of two raters scoring students sketches on eight criteria was acceptable across exercises, but low across criteria. Students scored highest on Representation Accuracy, Scale, and Symmetry, and exhibited complex understanding of perspective sketching. We intend to revise the rubric to score for aesthetics and make instructions more precise. 
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  5. Abstract

    Engineering design involves intensive visual-spatial reasoning, and engineers depend upon external representation to develop concepts during idea generation. Previous research has not explored how our visual representation skills influence our idea generation effectiveness. A designer’s deficit in sketching skills could create a need for increased focus on the task of visual representation reducing cognitive resources available for the task at hand — generating concept. Further, this effect could be compounded if designers believed that their sketching skill would be evaluated or judged by their peers. This evaluation apprehension could cause additional mental workload distracting from the production of idea generation.

    The goal of this study is to investigate and better understand the relationship between designers’ sketching skills and idea generation abilities. In this paper, we present preliminary results of the relationship between independent measures of sketching skill and idea generation ability from an entry-level engineering design and graphics course. During data collection, task instructions were given in two ways to independent groups: one group was instructed upfront that sketching would be evaluated, while the second group was kept blind to the sketch evaluation. In this paper, we also examine the potential priming effects of sketch quality evaluation apprehension on idea generation productivity. The results show that sketching quality and idea quantity are largely independent, and that the priming effects of sketch evaluation instructions are small to negligible on idea generation productivity.

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  6. This Research Work In Progress Paper examines empirical evidence on the impacts of feedback from an intelligent tutoring software on sketching skill development. Sketching is a vital skill for engineering design, but sketching is only taught limitedly in engineering education. Teaching sketching usually involves one-on-one feedback which limits its application in large classrooms. To meet the demands of feedback for sketching instruction, SketchTivity was developed as an intelligent tutoring software. SketchTivity provides immediate personalized feedback on sketching freehand practice. The current study examines the effectiveness of the feedback of SketchTivity by comparing students practicing with the feedback and without. Students were evaluated on their motivation for practicing sketching, the development of their skills, and their perceptions of the software. This work in progress paper examines preliminary analysis in all three of these areas. 
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