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  1. During the Spring 2020 semester, universities shifted into emergency remote teaching due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, the pandemic disrupted students learning, their support structures, and interactions with other individuals both socially and academically. In addition, it created lasting impacts on professionals in determining strategies and altering objectives to help undergraduate engineering students achieve their learning objectives. Previous research on social support during the pandemic has focused primarily on singular cultural context, this study was conducted to understand the impact of the pandemic on students support in different cultural contexts. The purpose of this research was to explore how students experienced social capital structures at two institutions: one in the United Kingdom (U.K.) and one in the United States (U.S.) during the period of emergency remote teaching. The survey was designed around social capital theory, it provided demographic information, students agreement with their educational and social interactions, and names of individuals as well as resources they utilized during the pandemic.Results revealed similarities and differences between the two groups. Both case studies had the same top three alters: friends/roommate, professor, and family members, and reported almost the same frequency in communication with their alters. Participants in both case studies also hadhighmore »rates of support in both expressive and instrumental categories from their top two alters. Examiningthe differences, the UK case had a lower mean response for both sense of belonging and satisfaction at the university. Finally, there was a difference in the types of alters identified in each case due to different cultural contexts.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Contribution: This article discusses instructor decisions that support social capital development in an online, asynchronous, team-based introduction to electrical engineering course. Background: Online learning is changing how instructors and students interact with each other and course materials. There is a need to understand how to support students' social capital development during online engineering courses. Research Questions: What aspects of an online, asynchronous, team-based, introductory electrical engineering course gave students instrumental and expressive social capital? What decisions did the instructor make to support the development of strong and weak social ties? Methodology: A case study approach was used to analyze interview data from the students, instructor, and graduate teaching assistant (TA) from an online course. Findings: The results indicate effective lecture delivery and a team-based format can provide students with instrumental social supports they need to meet learning objectives in an online asynchronous, introduction to electrical engineering course. To facilitate the development of expressive support and stronger ties, instructors should incorporate these goals in their course design decisions.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 11, 2023
  4. The pandemic of COVID-19 is disrupting engineering education globally, at all levels of education.While distance education is nothing new, the pandemic of COVID-19 forced instructors to rapidly move their courses online whether or not they had ever received prior training in online education. In particular, there is very little literature to guide instructors in supporting students in online engineering design or project-based courses. The purpose of this research is to examine engineering students’ report of social support in their project and design-based courses at a large research university during the move to online instruction due to COVID-19in the Spring 2020 semester and to provide recommendations for instructors teaching these types of courses online in the future.Our study is framed by social constructivism and social capital theory.We surveyed undergraduate engineering and engineering technology students(n=235) across undergraduate levels during the final week of the Spring 2019 semester.Survey questions included open-ended prompts about social supports and overall experience with the transition to online learning as well as name and resource generator questions focused on specific people and types of interactions that changed during the pandemic. We used qualitative content analysis of the open-ended responses along with comparisons of the name and resource generatormore »to develop recommendations for instructors.Recommendations to increase students’ social supports include:facilitating informal conversations between students and between students and the instructional team, grouping students located in the same time zones in teams, facilitating co-working sessions for students, establishing weekly structure, and utilizing some synchronous components (e.g., virtual office hours).« less