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  1. There is an urgent need to recruit, train, and sustain a diverse engineering workforce able to meet the socio-technical challenges of 21st century society. Together, student veterans and service members (SVSM) are a unique yet understudied student group that comprises substantial numbers of those historically underrepresented in engineering (i.e., due to race, ethnicity, gender, ability, orientation, etc.). That, in combination with technical interests and skills, maturity, life experience, and self-discipline, makes SVSM ideal candidates for helping engineering education meet these demands [1,2]. This NSF CAREER project aims to advance full participation of SVSMs within higher engineering education and the engineering workforce by 1) Research Plan: developing deeper understandings about how SVSM participate, persist, and produce professional identities in engineering and 2) Education Plan: putting new assets based understandings of SVSM experiences into practice through collaborative development, implementation and broad dissemination of evidence-based military ally and mentorship programs in engineering and awareness/support trainings for engineering faculty, staff, and administrators.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2023
  2. The science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) workforce contributes to the U.S. economy by supporting 67% of jobs and 69% of the gross domestic product [1]. Currently, there is an increased demand for engineering and computer science (E/CS) professionals, particularly those from underrepresented (e.g., gender, racial, ethnic) and underserved (socio-economic, geographically isolated) groups who bring diversity of thought and experience to the national E/CS workforce [2]. Correspondingly, educational institutions are called upon to develop capabilities to attract, engage, and retain students from these diverse backgrounds in E/CS programs of study. To encourage and enable diverse students to opt into and persist within E/CS programs of study, there is a critical need to engage students in supportive and enriching opportunities from which to learn and grow. The importance of student engagement for promoting student growth and development has been researched to such an extent that its utility is widely agreed upon [5]. Importantly, it has been shown that both academic and extracurricular aspects of a student’s learning processes are characterized by engagement [6]. High Impact Educational Practices (HIP) provide useful opportunities for deep student engagement and, thus, positively influence student retention and persistence [4]. Kuh [3] identified eleven curricular and extracurricularmore »HIP (i.e., collaborative assignments and projects, common intellectual experiences, eportfolios, first year seminars and experiences, global learning and study abroad, internships, learning communities, senior culminating experiences, service and community-based learning, undergraduate research, and writing intensive courses). In computer science and engineering education fields, however, the extent to which HIP affects persistence and retention has not been fully investigated. This project aims to examine E/CS undergraduate student engagement in HIP and to understand the factors that contribute to positive engagement experiences.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 23, 2023
  3. Student engagement, especially among Engineering and Computer science majors (E/CS), has been a priority for researchers. Although considerable efforts have been made to improve college students' engagement and interest, underrepresented minority groups and first-generation students are still at risk of dropping out of engineering majors due to lack of inclusiveness, motivation, and other related factors. According to Kuh (2008), student participation in High-Impact Educational Practices (HIEP) is correlated with student outcomes such as persistence, performance, achievement, and intent to complete their current major. The present study reviews the existing National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE, 2012, 2017) data from two western land-grant universities to fully capture participation through the survey of first-year students and seniors (N = 674). The HIEP considered include service-learning, learning communities, research with faculty, internship or field experience, study abroad, and culminating senior experience. These practices are designed to encourage meaningful interactions between faculty and students, foster collaboration with students within different demographics groups, and facilitate learning outside the classroom. Insights were gleaned from how the students interacted with HIEP based on special characteristics such as sex, race, age, enrollment status, and residence. The purpose of the present study is to examine the extent to whichmore »E/CS students participate in HIEP and its effects on student outcomes. This study also offers comparisons or possible relationships between student demographics, student success, and HIEP involvement. For example, the participation rates of HIEP on different engineering and computer science majors, including civil, chemical, electrical, mechanical, and materials engineering, etc., are analyzed to examine the practices that work for a particular E/CS major. The present study reports findings from NSSE 2012 and 2017 surveys. Results show that among the E/CS seniors, service-learning, learning community, and study abroad program are the HIEP with the lowest participation rate with 41% (service-learning), 59% (learning community), and 68% (study abroad program), indicating that they do not plan to engage in these practices in their senior year. Conversely, internships and culminating senior experiences had the most participation among E/CS seniors with 52% (internships) and 68% (culminating senior experiences. Interestingly, first-year students showed a significant interest to participate in the following HIEP: internships, study abroad programs, and culminating senior experiences – with 76% (internships), 47% (study abroad program), and 68% (culminating senior experiences) indicating plans to engage in these practices. Finally, findings show that participation or engagement in HIEP is a significant predictor of student learning outcomes. Findings of this review may serve as a guide for future research in E/CS student participation in HIEP. The paper concludes with theoretical and practical implications of the findings on student engagement and learning. Key words: NSSE, high impact educational practices, Engagement« less
  4. Over the years, researchers have found that student engagement facilitates desired academic success outcomes for college undergraduate students. Much research on student engagement has focused on academic tasks and classroom context. High impact engagement practices (HIEP) have been shown to be effective for undergraduate student academic success. However, less is known about the effects of HIEP specifically on engineering and computer science (E/CS) student outcomes. Given the high attrition rates for E/CS students, student involvement in HIEP could be effective in improving student outcomes for E/CS students, including those from various underrepresented groups. More generally, student participation in specific HIEP activities has been shown to shape their everyday experiences in school, both academically and socially. Hence, the primary goal of this study is to examine the factors that predict academic success in E/CS using multiple regression analysis. Specifically, this study seeks to understand the effects of high impact engagement practices (HIEP), coursework enjoyability, confidence at completing a degree on academic success of the underrepresented and nontraditional E/CS students. We used exploratory factor analyses to derive “academic success” variable from five items that sought to measure how students persevere to attain academic goals. A secondary goal of the present study ismore »to address the gap in research literature concerning how participation in HIEP affects student persistence and success in E/CS degree programs. Our research team developed and administered an online survey to investigate and identify factors that affect participation in HIEP among underrepresented and nontraditional E/CS students. Respondents (N = 531) were students enrolled in two land grant universities in the Western U.S. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to examine the proportion of the variation in the dependent variable (academic success) explained by the independent variables (i.e., high impact engagement practice (HIEP), coursework enjoyability, and confidence at completing a degree). We hypothesized that (1) high impact engagement practices will predict academic success; (2) coursework enjoyability will predict academic success; and (3) confidence at completing a degree will predict academic success. Results showed that the multiple regression model statistically predicted academic success , F(3, 270) = 33.064, p = .001, adjusted R2 = .27. This results indicate that there is a linear relationship in the population and the multiple regression model is a good fit for the data. Further, findings show that confidence at completing a degree is significantly predictive of academic success. In addition, coursework enjoyability is a strong predictor of academic success. Specifically, the result shows that an increase in high impact engagement activity is associated with an increase in students’ academic success. In sum, these findings suggest that student participation in High Impact Engagement Practices might improve academic success and course retention. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.« less
  5. Despite efforts to diversify the engineering workforce, the field remains dominated by White, male engineers. Research shows that underrepresented groups, including women and minorities, are less likely to identify and engage with scientific texts and literacy practices. Often, children of minority groups and/or working-class families do not receive the same kinds of exposure to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) knowledge and practices as those from majority groups. Consequently, these children are less likely to engage in school subjects that provide pathways to engineering careers. Therefore, to mitigate the lack of diversity in engineering, new approaches able to broadly support engineering literacy are needed. One promising approach is disciplinary literacy instruction (DLI). DLI is a method for teaching students how advanced practitioners in a given field generate, interpret, and evaluate discipline-specific texts. DLI helps teachers provide access to to high quality, discipline-specific content to all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, or socio-economic status, Therefore, DLI has potential to reduce literacy-based barriers that discourage underrepresented students from pursuing engineering careers. While models of DLI have been developed and implemented in history, science, and mathematics, little is known about DLI in engineering. The purpose of this research is to identify themore »authentic texts, practices, and evaluative frameworks employed by professional engineers to inform a model of DLI in engineering. While critiques of this approach may suggest that a DLI model will reflect the literacy practices of majority engineering groups, (i.e., White male engineers), we argue that a DLI model can directly empower diverse K-16 students to become engineers by instructing them in the normed knowledge and practices of engineering. This paper presents a comparative case study conducted to investigate the literacy practices of electrical and mechanical engineers. We scaffolded our research using situated learning theory and rhetorical genre studies and considered the engineering profession as a community of practice. We generated multiple types of data with four participants (i.e., two electrical and two mechanical engineers). Specifically, we generated qualitative data, including written field notes of engineer observations, interview transcripts, think-aloud protocols, and engineer logs of literacy practices. We used constant comparative analysis (CCA) coding techniques to examine how electrical and mechanical engineers read, wrote, and evaluated texts to identify the frameworks that guide their literacy practices. We then conducted within-group and cross-group constant comparative analyses (CCA) to compare and contrast the literacy practices specific to each sub-discipline Findings suggest that there are two types of engineering literacy practices: those that resonate across both mechanical and electrical engineering disciplines and those that are specific to each discipline. For example, both electrical and mechanical engineers used test procedures to review and assess steps taken to evaluate electrical or mechanical system performance. In contrast, engineers from the two sub-disciplines used different forms of representation when depicting components and arrangements of engineering systems. While practices that are common across sub-disciplines will inform a model of DLI in engineering for K-12 settings, discipline-specific practices can be used to develop and/or improve undergraduate engineering curricula.« less
  6. In this theory paper, we set out to consider, as a matter of methodological interest, the use of quantitative measures of inter-coder reliability (e.g., percentage agreement, correlation, Cohen’s Kappa, etc.) as necessary and/or sufficient correlates for quality within qualitative research in engineering education. It is well known that the phrase qualitative research represents a diverse body of scholarship conducted across a range of epistemological viewpoints and methodologies. Given this diversity, we concur with those who state that it is ill advised to propose recipes or stipulate requirements for achieving qualitative research validity and reliability. Yet, as qualitative researchers ourselves, we repeatedly find the need to communicate the validity and reliability—or quality—of our work to different stakeholders, including funding agencies and the public. One method for demonstrating quality, which is increasingly used in qualitative research in engineering education, is the practice of reporting quantitative measures of agreement between two or more people who code the same qualitative dataset. In this theory paper, we address this common practice in two ways. First, we identify instances in which inter-coder reliability measures may not be appropriate or adequate for establishing quality in qualitative research. We query research that suggests that the numerical measure itselfmore »is the goal of qualitative analysis, rather than the depth and texture of the interpretations that are revealed. Second, we identify complexities or methodological questions that may arise during the process of establishing inter-coder reliability, which are not often addressed in empirical publications. To achieve this purposes, in this paper we will ground our work in a review of qualitative articles, published in the Journal of Engineering Education, that have employed inter-rater or inter-coder reliability as evidence of research validity. In our review, we will examine the disparate measures and scores (from 40% agreement to 97% agreement) used as evidence of quality, as well as the theoretical perspectives within which these measures have been employed. Then, using our own comparative case study research as an example, we will highlight the questions and the challenges that we faced as we worked to meet rigorous standards of evidence in our qualitative coding analysis, We will explain the processes we undertook and the challenges we faced as we assigned codes to a large qualitative data set approached from a post positivist perspective. We will situate these coding processes within the larger methodological literature and, in light of contrasting literature, we will describe the principled decisions we made while coding our own data. We will use this review of qualitative research and our own qualitative research experiences to elucidate inconsistencies and unarticulated issues related to evidence for qualitative validity as a means to generate further discussion regarding quality in qualitative coding processes.« less
  7. This study, part of a larger research project focused on disciplinary literacy within engineering (Authors, 2018), is a comparative case study of the literacy practices of two electrical engineers. The goal of this comparative case study was to understand how electrical engineers read, write, and evaluate multi-representational texts in the context of their professional lives. We used the findings from this study to construct a model of disciplinary literacy in electrical engineering, whose purpose is to prepare students for the electrical engineering workforce by teaching them to interpret and produce texts using authentic disciplinary frameworks. This paper examines the literacy practices of two electrical engineers to answer the following research questions: (1) What texts do the electrical engineers read and write? (2) What disciplinary frameworks do they use to read and write different texts? (3) How do engineers use internet searches to locate and evaluate information? (4) What role does argumentation have with respect to their literacy practices?