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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 18, 2024
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  4. Our world’s complex challenges increase the need for those entering STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) disciplines to be able to creatively approach and collaboratively address wicked problems – complex problems with no “right” answer that span disciplines. Hackathons are environments that leverage problem-based learning practices so student teams can solve problems creatively and collaboratively by developing a solution to given challenges using engineering and computer science knowledge, skills, and abilities. The purpose of this paper is to offer a framework for interdisciplinary hackathon challenge development, as well as provide resources to aid interdisciplinary teams in better understanding the context and needs of a hackathon to evaluate and refine hackathon challenges. Three cohorts of interdisciplinary STEAM researchers were observed and interviewed as they collaboratively created a hackathon challenge incorporating all cohort-member disciplines for an online high school hackathon. The observation data and interview transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis to distill the processes cohorts underwent and resources that were necessary for successfully creating a hackathon challenge. Through this research we found that the cohorts worked through four sequential stages as they collaborated to create a hackathon challenge. We detail the stages and offer them as a framework for future teams who seek to develop an interdisciplinary hackathon challenge. Additionally, we found that all cohorts lacked the knowledge and experience with hackathons to make fully informed decisions related to the challenge’s topic, scope, outcomes, etc. In response, this manuscript offers five hackathon quality considerations and three guiding principles for challenge developers to best meet the needs and goals of hackathon sponsors and participants. 
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  5. This paper proposes the use of collaborative secondary data analysis (SDA) as a tool for building capacity in engineering education research. We first characterise the value of collaborative SDA as a tool to help emerging researchers develop skills in qualitative data analysis. We then describe an ongoing collaboration that involves a series of workshops as well as two pilot projects that seek to develop and test frameworks and practices for SDA in engineering education research. We identify emerging benefits and practical challenges associated with implementing SDA as a capacity building tool, and conclude with a discussion of future work. 
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  6. Computational modeling skills are critical for the success of both engineering students and practicing engineers and are increasingly included as part of the undergraduate curriculum. However, students' belief in the utility of these skills and their ability to succeed in learning them can vary significantly. This study hypothesizes that the self-efficacy and motivation of engineering students at the outset of their degree program varies significantly and that engineering students pursuing some disciplines (such as computer, software, and electrical engineering) will begin with a higher initial self-efficacy than others (such as materials science and engineering and biomedical engineering). In this pilot study, a survey was used to investigate the motivational and efficacy factors of approximately 70 undergraduate students in their first year of engineering studies at a large public university. Surveys were implemented after students were introduced to MATLAB in their first-year engineering design course. The data was analyzed for variations in baseline motivation based on the students' intended major. The results of this survey will help determine whether efficacy and interest related to computational modeling are indeed lower for certain engineering disciplines and will inform future studies in this area. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    A well-developed interview protocol is an essential data collection tool in qualitative research. An established process to refine interview protocols can help build quality and consistency into data collection. However, despite the importance placed on interview protocols by academic texts, there is little guidance regarding how to systematically develop and refine interview protocols, particularly when exploring complex constructs, such as beliefs and identity. In this special session, attendees will learn and practice an approach for refining interview protocols for investigating complex constructs in engineering education. We share this interview refinement approach as it enabled us to determine if our interview questions prompted participants to provide data essential to answering our research questions for a pilot study investigating students' beliefs and identities. This special session will also include conversations around best practices related to data collection to access complex constructs and how these practices can impact and shape future research. We welcome attendees of all experience levels (novice to expert) with regard to designing interview protocols. The session will be facilitated by Dr. Emily Dringenberg, Dr. Rachel Kajfez, and their graduate students. Dr. Dringenberg is a qualitative researcher well versed in beliefs. Dr. Kajfez is a mixed methods researcher well versed in identity. Both have multiple NSF grants exploring these complex constructs. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
  9. null (Ed.)
    Despite decades of research, the underrepresentation of non-male, and non-white individuals in engineering continues to be a critical problem. A widespread and commonly accepted approach to recruit and retain diverse individuals is to provide multiple pathways into engineering degree programs, such as offering introductory courses at community colleges or regional campuses. Although these pathways are intended to promote diversity, they are similar in structure to the educational tracking practices common within the K-12 context that extant research has shown often work to perpetuate social inequalities. Students in less prestigious tracks have lower educational aspirations and less favorable self-beliefs. As such, the objective of this research is to understand undergraduate engineering students’ beliefs and identities with respect to smartness and engineering from different institutionalized educational pathways. In our executive summary and poster, we report on the pilot phase of the project consisting of nine semi-structured one-on-one interviews with first-year engineering students across three different institutionalized educational pathways as well as the development and refinement of the interview protocol. The pilot interview protocol was initially development to access the main constructs of interest for this research, beliefs about engineering and smartness as well as identity with respect to engineering and smartness. After the pilot interviews were completed, we utilized an interview protocol refinement approach and determined that the most insufficient portion of our initial protocol was the portion designed to have participants relate their engineering identity to their identity as smart (or not). As such, follow up questions were added to the protocol to provide clarity. The refined interview protocol will be used during the next phase of the study. The full study will include interviews with 30 participants across six different pathways to understand how participation in different institutionalized pathways relates to students’ experiences, beliefs, and identities. These participants will be interviewed up to three times to follow their development as they transition beyond introductory engineering courses regardless of if they continue with the engineering or not. Our work will provide valuable insights into the complex beliefs and identities about engineering and smartness of students participating in different institutionalized pathways into engineering. Ultimately, we believe our findings will inform the ways in which this common structural approach to broadening participation is enacted in engineering. 
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  10. This Research Work-in-Progress paper explores how motivation and identity can evolve when faculty from different disciplines (arts, engineering, medicine, etc.) collaborate to present on a central theme or topic (e.g. color) across multiple community settings. Sharing research findings beyond the academic community is essential for systemic change and wide spread enhancements to our everyday lives. Through this work, we explore how faculty researchers’ motivations to share their work and their identities as researchers develop through collaborative experiences with other faculty that aim at sharing research findings with the public. In this study, faculty from divergent academic fields are working together to present convergent presentations as one coherent theme across three different informal learning sessions as well as a control setting. These presentations intend to increase public engagement with scientific research and broaden the scope of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) learning by approaching the themes through the faculty’s different academic backgrounds. Through collaboration and engagement with the public, we will track how faculty’s identities as researchers and motivations to share their work develop over this experience through the use of the Longitudinal Model of Motivation and Identity (LMMI). Over the course of this study, we hope to see gains in faculty motivation and researcher identities who engage with the public through this experience. For this paper, we focus on framing the overall study and provide initial findings from our recruitment survey. 
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