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In this paper we explore the ability of educational frameworks focused on developing the entrepreneurial mindset to be used to develop students’ abilities to approach convergent problems. While there is not a single widely accepted definition of convergence, there are some general aspects noted by the NSF including: socially relevant, multidisciplinary, complex, and not being adequately addressed by current methods and practices. Convergent problems require existing disciplines to collaborate to create new knowledge, skills, and approaches in order to be appropriately addressed. We believe that there are aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset and the learning of it that can support the development of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to approach convergent problems. This is relevant because most work on convergent problems happens at the graduate level and beyond and our interest is to create experiences for undergraduates that prepare them to embark on this work after graduation. This study maps entrepreneurial mindset learning (EML) onto a framework based on prior work on convergence to identify the aspects of EML that directly support convergence work or preparation for convergence work. The existing dataset of KEEN cards is used as a proxy for existing work in this space, as well. If existing workmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
This NSF Grantees poster discusses an early phase Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) project which is designed to address preparing engineering students to address large scale societal problems, the solutions of which integrate multiple disciplinary perspectives. These types of problems are often termed “convergent problems”. The idea of convergence captures how different domains of expertise contribute to solving a problem, but also the value of the network of connections between areas of knowledge that is built in undertaking such activities. While most existing efforts at convergence focus at the graduate and post-graduate levels, this project supports student development of capabilities to address convergent problems in an undergraduate disciplinary-based degree program in electrical and computer engineering. This poster discusses some of the challenges faced in implementing such learning including how to decouple engineering topics from societal concerns in ways that are relevant to undergraduate students yet retain aspects of convergence, negotiations between faculty on ways to balance discipline-specific skills with the breadth required for systemic understanding, and challenges in integrating relevant projects into courses with different faculty and instructional learning goals. One of the features of the project is that it builds on ideas from Communities of Transformation by basing activities onmore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
Work-in-Progress: A Review of the Type, Breadth, and Limitations of Publicly Available Educational Technology Products in 2022One of the major changes in the higher education ecosystem over the last decade has been a rise in the availability of education-based software products, including education-based web-pages and web-services. Globally the investment in education-based startups in 2017 was $9.5B which surged to $18.7B in 2019 . The COVID-19 pandemic further fueled record investment in this sector, with the US seeing $2.2B invested in 130 startups in 2020, up from $1.7B in 2019 and $1.4B in 2018 (see  and ). Early indicators show that 2021 will again see further increases . While the majority (92%) of these investments are aimed at consumer and corporate sectors, there is potential for the innovations developed to diffuse into both the P-12 and higher education spaces . What is evident from the investment numbers is that an integration of learning technologies specifically into higher education is progressing at a relatively slower pace . It is the goal of this work-in-progress to identify some of the reasons for this slower progress. Our hypothesis is that, while some of these reasons may be obvious, there are also more subtle and/or counterintuitive reasons for the reduced interest in higher education. The motivation and need for themore »Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
Adding a “Design Thread” to Electrical and Computer Engineering Degree Programs: Motivation, Implementation, and EvaluationThis article details the multi-year process of adding a “design thread” to our department’s electrical and computer engineering curricula. We use the conception of a “thread” to mean a sequence of courses that extend unbroken across each year of the undergraduate curriculum. The design thread includes a project-based introduction to the discipline course in the first year, a course in the second year focusing on measurement and fabrication, a course in the third year to frame technical problems in societal challenges, and culminates with our two-semester, client-driven fourth-year capstone design sequence. The impetus to create a design thread arose from preparation for an ABET visit where we identified a need for more “systems thinking” within the curriculum, particularly system decomposition and modularity; difficulty in having students make engineering evaluations of systems based on data; and students’ difficulty transferring skills in testing, measurement, and evaluation from in-class lab scenarios to more independent work on projects. We also noted that when working in teams, students operated more collectively than collaboratively. In other words, rather than using task division and specialization to carry out larger projects, students addressed all problems collectively as a group. This paper discusses the process through which faculty developedmore »
National surveys of design courses find many similarities between the way capstone courses are structured and implemented, although more programs focus on the design process rather than creating a product. What is not as well understood are the methods and techniques used to inform students of interrelationship between product and process. This paper discusses the use of multiple formal design representations as a means to focus learning on the interrelation between design processes and products. The ability to utilize multiple representations has been demonstrated to be effective in improving student learning in math education, a discipline that can be highly process-oriented. Similarly representational fluency impacts engineering modeling. In the context of teaching design the term representation here refers to a written or graphical expression of some aspect of the design process and/or product. Ideally the set of representations would form a minimal and complete orthonormal basis set; that is the ensemble of representations captures the design in its entirety and the representations are not redundant. Since the design work of many engineers is a set of plans or diagrams (forms of representation) the complete set of representations has the potential to capture both the process of design and serve asmore »