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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Background This paper explores the epistemologies and discourse of undergraduate students at the transdisciplinary intersection of engineering and the arts. Our research questions focus on the kinds of knowledge that students value, use, and identify within an interdisciplinary digital media program, as well as how they talk about using these epistemologies while navigating this transdisciplinary intersection. Six interviews were conducted with students pursuing a semester-long senior capstone project in the digital culture undergraduate degree program in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering at Arizona State University that emphasizes the intersection between arts, media, and engineering. Results Using deductive coding followed by discourse analysis, a variety of student epistemologies including positivism, constructionism, and pragmatism were observed. “Border epistemologies” are introduced as a way to think and/or construct knowledge with differing value across disciplines. Further, discourse analysis highlighted students’ identifications with being either an artist or an engineer and revealed linguistic choice in how students use knowledge and problem-solve in these situations. Conclusions Students in a digital media program use fluid, changing epistemological viewpoints when working on their projects, partly driven by orientations with arts and/or engineering. The findings from this study can lead to implications for the design andmore »teaching of transdisciplinary capstones in the future.« less
  3. This Research Full Paper examines the concept of flow, derived from Zen philosophy and positive psychology, and how interdisciplinary STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) and disciplinary electrical engineering students find flow within their coursework and their capstone design experiences. STEAM education incorporates the arts and humanities into the traditional disciplines of STEM. However, students involved in this interdisciplinary space often struggle to find a balance in applying both creative and logical knowledge in their work. The theoretical framework for this study leverages the concept of pure experience from Zen philosophy to analyze flow states in students’ interdisciplinary experiences. This theory focuses on the unity of subject/object and rejection of purely logical, positivist thinking for more integrative knowledge acquisition while in flow states. In this secondary analysis, we analyzed interviews conducted with electrical engineering and STEAM students. STEAM students from an interdisciplinary program were found to approach their coursework differently than engineering students, likely because of a difference in assignment guidelines. The engineering students in the study had more restrictive guidelines, while the STEAM students were given more freedom to move between disciplines. Alternatively, students from both disciplines shared many similar values about education and knowledge including the needmore »for enjoyment and personal interest within the coursework as well as finding a balance between logical thought and the desire for creation that a student’s program did not determine whether they reached a state of pure experience, or flow, in their work. However, rigid adherence to either the arts or engineering seemed to create disharmony and very few students find cohesion between their values and their approach to knowledge. This paper points to new insights into the design of capstone experiences for STEAM education.« less
  4. Many of us are working to create a more inclusive and socially just culture within engineering education and engineering. Despite significant effort, marginalization and discrimination continue, buoyed by systems of oppression. How can we disrupt and dismantle oppressive systems in engineering education? In our work, we explore how power and privilege are enacted within leadership teams that aim to create revolutionary changes within engineering departments. Based on this work, we developed the POWER protocol (Privilege and Oppression: Working for Equitable Recourse), a workshop that guides engineering educators to identify and understand the intersectional nature of power and privilege before planning strategies to disrupt, disarm, and dismantle it. In this paper, we present a design case to show how this workshop has evolved. We provide the POWER protocol in the appendix so that others can adapt this workshop for their own contexts. In the interactive session at CoNECD, we will take attendees through part of the POWER protocol (we will scope the workshop to fit in the time allotted; the full workshop is 1.5 hours) to examine how power, privilege, and intersectionality can help attendees frame their experiences and begin to understand how their everyday experiences may be influenced by systemicmore »oppression. To guide this process, we orient around the question: How can we become aware of power and privilege on collaborative academic teams in order to better affect social change and improve interdisciplinary and cross-identity/boundary interactions, communication, and inclusivity? We hope that through interactive sessions such as this that we can all become more persistent and sophisticated in our efforts to dismantle some of these forms of power and privilege within the university, especially those aspects that continue to oppress and oftentimes push marginalized people and perspectives out of academia. Our interactive approach will position attendees to bring this protocol back to their institutions and adapt it to their own contexts. In the tradition of the design case such as those published by the International Journal of Designs for Learning, we detail how our contexts and the literature informed the iterative development of the POWER protocol in this paper. We provide a vivid account of the POWER protocol and a facilitation guide that others can use and adapt in their own contexts. Using a narrative format, we share a forthright account of our development process. Design cases are valuable in highlighting distinctive aspects of how a design came to be; by sharing our design decisions along with the design, others may gain insight into both what has made our design successful, and where it may be brittle when used in new contexts. Finally, we describe how we will engage attendees in the CoNECD session.« less
  5. We (the facilitators) work as social scientists and engineering education researchers from different universities on the NSF-supported program, Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) ( ). We began to notice how power and privilege were enacted on our teams, which consisted of diverse team members (e.g., diverse in disciplinary affiliation, role in the university, gender, race, LGBTQIA+ status). This motivated a research project and workshops/special sessions such as the one proposed here, where we explore how power and privilege are enacted within interdisciplinary teams so that we can begin to dismantle systemic oppressions within academia [1] , [2] . The POWER special session (Privilege and Oppression: Working for Equitable Recourse) was developed to guide engineering educators to identify and understand the intersectional nature of power and privilege before planning strategies to disrupt, disarm, and dismantle it.
  6. This work-in-progress briefly outlines the theoretical background, methods, and preliminary results of a qualitative study conducted with gender, romantic, and sexual minority (GRSM) students immersed in higher education spaces. We elaborate on the efficacy of our innovative qualitative methodologies through the use of AI-human art-making interactions during our interviews, which helped to produce richer qualitative data from our participants. Our methodology was constructed using a Foucauldian theoretical framework to inform the framework of this study, focusing explicitly on GRSM students’ experiences with power in higher education and when using technology, as well as the ways in which they resist power through the use of technology and AI-generated visual media.
  7. The purpose of this critical literature review was to generate awareness of the LGBTQIA+ engineering student experience and research on this community, while also highlighting areas that are lacking or receiving insufficient attention. This work is part of a larger project that aims to review engineering education research with respect to LGBTQIA+ students, higher education faculty and staff, and industry professionals. This literature review was conducted in two phases. First, works from non-engineering disciplines were reviewed to identify popular threads and major areas of research on the LGBTQIA+ student experience. This phase was not an exhaustive review; rather, it was meant to establish specific themes of importance derived from the larger body of literature on the LGBTQIA+ student experience. Second, a literature review identified how engineering-specific research on the LGBTQIA+ student experience aligned with these themes. We identified several themes in the first phase of the literature review: (1) Climate, (2) LGB Monolith, (3) Intersectionality, and (4) Identity Development. Engineering and engineering education literature demonstrated similar themes, although this body of work was unique in the exploration of LGBTQIA+ coping strategies and the use of the technical/social dualism framework. Overall, the engineering education literature on LGBTQIA+ student experiences seemed relativelymore »underdeveloped.« less
  8. This work in progress explores the epistemologies and discourse used by undergraduate students at the transdisciplinary intersection of engineering and the arts. Our research questions are focused on the kinds of knowledge that students value, use, and identify within the context of an interdisciplinary digital media program, and exploring how their language reflects this. Our theoretical framework for analyzing epistemology draws upon qualitative work in STEM epistemology, domain specificity, and epistemological camps. Further, to analyze the language used by participants, we employ the use of discourse analysis as the study of language-in-use. Six interviews were conducted with students pursuing a semester-long senior capstone project in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering undergraduate degree program at Arizona State University. Preliminary findings show that students showcase a variety of epistemologies including positivism, constructivism, and pragmatism while engaged in their studies. “Border epistemologies” are introduced as a way to think and/or construct knowledge that may receive different value from discipline to discipline. Future research aims to synergistically combine these two methods of epistemological and discourse analysis to understand more deeply knowledge generation and utilization in these transdisciplinary arts and engineering programs.