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  1. null (Ed.)
    University-based makerspaces are receiving increasing attention as promising innovations that may contribute to the development of future engineers. Using a theory of social boundary spaces, we investigated whether the diverse experiences offered at university-based makerspaces may contribute to students’ learning and development of various “soft” or “21st century” skills that go beyond engineering-specific content knowledge. Through interviews with undergraduate student users at two university-based makerspaces in the United States we identified seven different types of boundary spaces (where multiple communities, and the individuals and activities affiliated with those communities, come together). We identified students engaging in the processes of identification, reflection, and coordination, which allowed them to make sense of, and navigate, the various boundary spaces they encountered in the makerspaces. These processes provided students with opportunities to engage with, and learn from, individuals and practices affiliated with various communities and disciplines. These opportunities can lead to students’ development of necessary skills to creatively and collaboratively address interdisciplinary socio-scientific problems. We suggest that university-based makerspaces can offer important developmental experiences for a diverse body of students that may be challenging for a single university department, program, or course to offer. Based on these findings, we recommend university programs and facultymore »intentionally integrate makerspace activities into undergraduate curricula to support students’ development of skills, knowledge, and practices relevant for engineering as well as 21st century skills more broadly.« less
  2. null (Ed.)
    In the last decade, postsecondary institutions have seen a notable increase in makerspaces on their campuses and the integration of these spaces into engineering programs. Yet research into the efficacy of university-based makerspaces is sparse. We contribute to this nascent body of research in reporting on findings from a phenomenological study on the perceptions of faculty, staff, and students concerning six university-based makerspaces in the United States. We discuss the findings using a framework of heterogeneous engineering (integration of the social and technical aspects of engineering practice). Various physical, climate, and programmatic features of makerspaces were read as affordances for students’ development of engineering practices and their continued participation and persistence in engineering. We discuss the potential of makerspaces in helping students develop knowledge, skills, and proclivities that may support their attending to especially wicked societal problems, such as issues of sustainability. We offer implications for makerspace administrators, engineering program leaders, faculty, and staff, as well as those developing and delivering professional development for faculty and staff, to better incorporate makerspaces into the university engineering curriculum.
  3. This Work-In-Progress falls within the research category of study and, focuses on the experiences and perceptions of first- and second year engineering students when using an online engineering game that was designed to enhance understanding of statics concepts. Technology and online games are increasingly being used in engineering education to help students gain competencies in technical domains in the engineering field. Less is known about the way that these online games are designed and incorporated into the classroom environment and how these factors can ignite inequitable perspectives and experiences among engineering students. Also, little if any work that combines the TAM model and intersectionality of race and gender in engineering education has been done, though several studies have been modified to account for gender or race. This study expands upon the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) by exploring perspectives of intersectional groups (defined as women of color who are engineering students). A Mixed Method Sequential Exploratory Research Design approach was used that extends the TAM model. Students were asked to play the engineering educational game, complete an open-ended questionnaire and then to participate in a focus group. Early findings suggest that while many students were open to learning to use themore »game and recommended inclusion of online engineering educational games as learning tools in classrooms, only a few indicated that they would use this tool to prepare for exams or technical job interviews. Some of the main themes identified in this study included unintended perpetuation of inequality through bias in favor of students who enjoyed competition-based learning and assessment of knowledge, and bias for students having prior experience in playing online games. Competition-based assessment related to presumed learning of course content enhanced student anxiety and feelings of intimidation and led to some students seeking to “game the game” versus learning the material, in efforts to achieve grade goals. Other students associated use of the game and the classroom weighted grading with intense stress that led them to prematurely stop the use of the engineering tool. Initial findings indicate that both game design and how technology is incorporated into the grading and testing of learning outcomes, influence student perceptions of the technology’s usefulness and ultimately the acceptance of the online game as a "learning tool." Results also point to the need to explore how the crediting and assessment of students’ performance and learning gains in these types of games could yield inequitable experiences in these types of courses.« less
  4. The purpose of this Work In Progress (WIP) qualitative study was to explore how engineering graduate students respond to and value hidden curriculum that is revealed to them through video scenarios and six explicit statements. This WIP paper will focus on how awareness of resources, emotions, and confidence can spark an action for students to help themselves (i.e., self-advocacy) or help others (i.e., advocacy) specifically in regards to raising awareness and revealing hidden curriculum within engineering. The goals of this WIP paper are to: (a) explore how graduate students react to and value the hidden curriculum presented; and (b) determine what graduate students perceive is necessary to take action in regards to the issues presented in the video and hidden curriculum statements.
  5. The relationship between graduate students and their research advisors within academia is pivotal to the development and success of the research enterprise. Graduate students rely on their faculty advisor to be a source of information, a departmental negotiator, and a role model to guide their professional and ethical behavior. However, if an advisor does not fully recognize a student’s best interest or they are unaware of how to be an “ethical mentor”, they may overlook the unique social capital of the graduate student (e.g., background, culture) and jeopardize the research relationship. This work aims to explore how women graduate students and faculties in science and engineering understand ethical mentoring within research relationships. Particularly, we are interested in understanding the six ethical mentoring principles suggested by Johnson (2016)—beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, fidelity, fairness, and privacy—all of which require an in-depth understanding for a productive research relationship. Qualitative analysis revealed that participants emphasized the principles of beneficence and fidelity, while principles of privacy and fairness were mentioned the least. Three key themes emerged from this analysis: (a) communication; (b) relative power between mentor and mentee; and (c) awareness (or a lack thereof) around implicit expectations within the research culture.
  6. The field of engineering education has adapted different theoretical frameworks from a wide range of disciplines to explore issues of education, diversity, and inclusion among others. The number of theoretical frameworks that explore these issues using a critical perspective has been increasing in the past few years. In this review of the literature, we present an analysis that draws from Freire’s principles of critical andragogy and pedagogy. Using a set of inclusion criteria, we selected 33 research articles that used critical theoretical frameworks as part of our systematic review of the literature. We argue that critical theoretical frameworks are necessary to develop anti-deficit approaches to engineering education research. We show how engineering education research could frame questions and guide research designs using critical theoretical frameworks for the purpose of liberation.
  7. The purpose of this exploratory special issue study was to understand the hidden curriculum (HC), or the unwritten, unofficial, or unintended lessons, around the professionalization of engineering faculty across institutions of higher education. Additionally, how engineering faculty connected the role of HC awareness, emotions, self-efficacy, and self-advocacy concepts was studied. A mixed-method survey was disseminated to 55 engineering faculties across 54 institutions of higher education in the United States. Quantitative questions, which centered around the influences that gender, race, faculty rank, and institutional type played in participants’ responses was analyzed using a combination of decision tree analysis with chi-square and correlational analysis. Qualitative questions were analyzed by a combination of tone-, open-, and focused-coding. The findings pointed to the primary roles that gender and institutional type (e.g., Tier 1) played in issues of fulfilling the professional expectations of the field. Furthermore, it was found that HC awareness and emotions and HC awareness and self-efficacy had moderate positive correlations, whereas, compared to self-advocacy, it had weak, negative correlations. Together, the findings point to the complex understandings and intersectional lived realities of many engineering faculty and hopes that through its findings can create awareness of the challenges and obstacles present in thesemore »professional environments.« less
  8. Makerspaces are a growing trend in engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education at both the university and K-12 levels. These spaces which, in theory, are characterized by a community of likeminded individuals interested in digital fabrication and innovative design, are argued to provide opportunities to foster the skills sets critical to the next generation of engineers and scientists. However, spaces for making are not new to the engineering curriculum as many engineering programs have well-established machine shops orbproject labs that students utilize to complete course projects. In this work-in-progress exploratory study, the authors evaluated early undergraduate students’ perceptions of two contrasting spaces, a contemporary makerspace and a traditional engineering shop. As part of an Introduction to Engineering course, students were asked to visit the two campus spaces, identify important equipment and policies they noticed in each space, and describe their perception of how the spaces were similar or different. Based on our initial findings, we speculate that access and safety issues in engineering shops may limit their use by early year engineering undergraduates. Alternatively, digital fabrication technologies and community culture in makerspaces can provide access to a hands-on prototyping and collaborative learning environment for early year engineeringmore »students.« less