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  1. During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Asian American students in higher education were faced not only with the move to online learning but the nuances that came with anti-Asian rhetoric and violence in the news. We wanted to understand how the sociopolitical effects of the past two years have affected Asian American engineering students through their experiences in the online setting, as well as highlight the gaps of Asian American engineering students in engineering education research. Using qualitative methods through semi-structured interviews with Asian and Asian American engineering students, we explore Asian and Asian American identity, and sociopolitical matters in the engineering classroom. To understand the views of Asian and Asian American students, we lay out the ways that racial and ethnic identity have been examined in engineering, along with Asian and Asian American identity formation. In this paper, we explore the background of race and equality in engineering and engineering education. Then we look at the results of our interviews, focusing on two main areas. First we look at how students formed social networks and build their identities in these online spaces. Then we look at the role of politicization in the classroom and in engineering and how it relatesmore »to Asian identity formation. We close this paper by speculating how Asian and Asian American identity can be better addressed and attended to within engineering education.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  2. In June 2020, at the annual conference of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), which was held entirely online due to the impacts of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), engineering education researchers and social justice scholars diagnosed the spread of two diseases in the United States: COVID-19 and racism. During a virtual workshop (T614A) titled, “Using Power, Privilege, and Intersectionality as Lenses to Understand our Experiences and Begin to Disrupt and Dismantle Oppressive Structures Within Academia,” Drs. Nadia Kellam, Vanessa Svihla, Donna Riley, Alice Pawley, Kelly Cross, Susannah Davis, and Jay Pembridge presented what we might call a pathological analysis of institutionalized racism and various other “isms.” In order to address the intersecting impacts of this double pandemic, they prescribed counter practices and protocols of anti-racism, and strategies against other oppressive “isms” in academia. At the beginning of the virtual workshop, the presenters were pleasantly surprised to see that they had around a hundred attendees. Did the online format of the ASEE conference afford broader exposure of the workshop? Did recent uprising of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests across the country, and internationally, generate broader interest in their topic? Whatever the case, at a time when an in-person conference could not bemore »convened without compromising public health safety, ASEE’s virtual conference platform, furnished by Pathable and supplemented by Zoom, made possible the broader social impacts of Dr. Svihla’s land acknowledgement of the unceded Indigenous lands from which she was presenting. Svihla attempted to go beyond a hollow gesture by including a hyperlink in her slides to a COVID-19 relief fund for the Navajo Nation, and encouraged attendees to make a donation as they copied and pasted the link in the Zoom Chat. Dr. Cross’s statement that you are either a racist or an anti-racist at this point also promised broader social impacts in the context of the virtual workshop. You could feel the intensity of the BLM social movements and the broader political climate in the tone of the presenters’ voices. The mobilizing masses on the streets resonated with a cutting-edge of social justice research and education at the ASEE virtual conference. COVID-19 has both exacerbated and made more obvious the unevenness and inequities in our educational practices, processes, and infrastructures. This paper is an extension of a broader collaborative research project that accounts for how an exceptional group of engineering educators have taken this opportunity to socially broaden their curricula to include not just public health matters, but also contemporary political and social movements. Engineering educators for change and advocates for social justice quickly recognized the affordances of diverse forms of digital technologies, and the possibilities of broadening their impact through educational practices and infrastructures of inclusion, openness, and accessibility. They are makers of what Gary Downy calls “scalable scholarship”—projects in support of marginalized epistemologies that can be scaled up from ideation to practice in ways that unsettle and displace the dominant epistemological paradigm of engineering education.[1] This paper is a work in progress. It marks the beginning of a much lengthier project that documents the key positionality of engineering educators for change, and how they are socially situated in places where they can connect social movements with industrial transitions, and participate in the production of “undone sciences” that address “a structured absence that emerges from relations of inequality.”[2] In this paper, we offer a brief glimpse into ethnographic data we collected virtually through interviews, participant observation, and digital archiving from March 2019 to August 2019, during the initial impacts of COVID-19 in the United States. The collaborative research that undergirds this paper is ongoing, and what is presented here is a rough and early articulation of ideas and research findings that have begun to emerge through our engagement with engineering educators for change. This paper begins by introducing an image concept that will guide our analysis of how, in this historical moment, forms of social and racial justice are finding their way into the practices of engineering educators through slight changes in pedagogical techniques in response the debilitating impacts of the pandemic. Conceptually, we are interested in how small and subtle changes in learning conditions can socially broaden the impact of engineering educators for change. After introducing the image concept that guides this work, we will briefly discuss methodology and offer background information about the project. Next, we discuss literature that revolves around the question, what is engineering education for? Finally, we introduce the notion of situating engineering education and give readers a brief glimpse into our ethnographic data. The conclusion will indicate future directions for writing, research, and intervention.« less
  3. This paper is based on a series of semi-structured, qualitative interviews that were conducted with students, by an undergraduate student and lead author of this paper, that focused on their experiences with educational technologies and online teaching pedagogy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As U.S. educators scrambled to adapt to online course delivery modes as a result of the first wave of the pandemic in the spring 2020 semester, those in the educational technology and online learning community saw the potential of this movement to vastly accelerate the implementation of online systems in higher education. A shift that may have taken 20 years to accomplish was implemented in two waves, first with the immediate forced shift to online learning in March 2020; and second, a less immediate shift to hybrid and online instruction designed to accommodate the different geographic variation in COVID-19 intensity, along with varied political and institutional ecologies surrounding online versus in-person instruction for the 2020-2021 academic year. With all of the rapid changes that were occurring during the spring of 2020, we wanted to investigate how students experienced and perceived faculty use of technology during this particular moment in time. This study documents this transitionmore »through the eyes of undergraduate students, and demonstrates the varied ways in which faculty navigated the transition to online learning. According to our interviewees, some faculty were thoughtful and competent and provided a supportive environment that paid attention to a students’ capacity for online learning, rather than maintaining traditional instructional practices. Others relied on practices from in-person instruction that were familiar, but appeared to be nervous in the new online teaching environment. Then there were those who seemed occupied by other concerns, where a focus on effective undergraduate teaching remained limited to begin with, and their approach to online instruction was driven by convenience. Our qualitative data clearly reveals that the ways in which faculty conducted their online courses directly impacted student learning experiences. In this study, we set out to document both the faculty instructional strategies in a hybrid/online environment and student accounts of those choices and their resulting experiences. While we continue to analyze this unique data set on this moment of transition in engineering education, we hope that this paper will also lead to policy recommendations regarding faculty adaptations to online instruction in general. We include some initial thoughts and recommendations below.« less
  4. oday’s engineering students face a very different world than their predecessors. As engineering has adapted to a more global and interconnected economy, the issues that face today’s engineers have become more complex. In a highly networked world notions of the impact of an engineer’s actions on others, the basis for moral and ethical behavior, also become more complex. The definition of complex here captures higher-order and emergent behaviors, situations that can change rapidly, limitations to predictability, and behavior arising from interactions rather than innate to components. While ethics has remained central to engineering education and in general has retained its deontological basis, the ideas the serve as the basis for engineering ethics have changed over time and can be expected to change in the future. The fact that the future ethical challenges that engineering students will face will be distributed and complex while most engineering curricula focus on simplified systems and decisions indicates emerging challenges for effectively addressing engineering ethics within the curriculum. Frameworks that distinguish simple and complicated from complex systems—in which outcomes are more uncertain—emphasize that action becomes more important than knowledge. In other words, it is more important to do what is right, even if one’s actionsmore »are imperfect, than know what is right to do. This paper explores the intersection of engineering curricula and engineering ethics from the perspective of “right action”, that is being able in act in ways that lead to ethical outcomes. It is argued that by focusing predominately on knowledge and situating learning in academic settings engineering curricula miss opportunities for developing capabilities for action. Through this lens the opportunities to address engineering ethics in the curriculum are seen to lie predominately outside traditional coursework.« less
  5. Unlike medicine, the engineering profession establishes new standards for engineering education through a distributed system of governance that mirrors the distributed structure of the profession. In this paper, we present our preliminary findings resulting from early data collected through an NSF-sponsored study of this system. This qualitative study is multi-site and multiscale in its design, and will eventually draw on interviews with faculty and administrators, at different rank, from at least two-dozen different colleges and universities as well as engineering professional organizations. Our interview data is complemented by content analysis of archival documents and published studies, reports, and statements. This paper is designed to introduce our research questions and begin a conversation among engineering educators about how we govern our own educational system. The trends and observations noted in this paper are abstracted from our earliest results, and are described only in general terms. Future papers will explore each of our research questions more fully, taking into account more detailed data.