Engineering Education Faculty Research and Publications

Permanent URI for this collection


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 4 of 4
  • ItemOpen Access
    How do first-year engineering students experience ambiguity in engineering design problems: The development of a self-report instrument
    Dringenberg, Emily; Wertz, R. E. H.; dringenberg; Dringenberg, Emily
    Design is widely recognized as a keystone of engineering practice. Within the context of engineering education, design has been categorized as a type of ill-structured problem solving that is crucial for engineering students to engage with. Improving undergraduate engineering education requires a better understanding of the ways in which students experience ill-structured problems in the form of engineering design. With special attention to the experiences of first-year engineering students, prior exploratory work identified two critical thresholds that distinguished students' ways of experiencing design as less or more comprehensive: accepting ambiguity and recognizing the value of multiple perspectives. The goal of current (work-in-progress) research is to develop and pilot a self-report instrument to assess students' relation to these two thresholds at the completion of an ill-structured design project within the context of undergraduate engineering education. The specific research questions addressed in this study are 1) if the piloted self-report instrument can be used to identify discrete constructs, and 2) how these constructs align with prior qualitative research findings. The objective of this study was addressed using a quantitative exploratory research design. Items for the self-report Likert-scaled instrument were designed to distinguish student experience that either accept or reject the presence of ambiguity and the value of multiple perspectives. The instrument was disseminated to a total of 214 first-year engineering students. Exploratory factor analysis was used to identify the constructs that emerge from the self-report data, and these constructs were checked for alignment with the previously identified thresholds. The results of this investigation will be used to help advance progress towards an easily administered instrument able to assist engineering educators with the identification of students in need of intervention or explicit instruction related to critical aspects of learning engineering design. The instrument could also be used to track student growth over time, and, with further development, to provide evidence for ABET student outcomes. © American Society for Engineering Education, 2016.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Engineering Education Experience, E3, for teachers: a professional development workshop for 6-12 engineering education
    (2013-10-07) Grauer, Bette; Roberts, Karen L.; Roberts, Thomas C.; Clark, Gary A.; Betz, Amy Rachel; grauerb; kroberts; tcr; gac; arbetz
    This paper describes a professional development program developed for middle and high school teachers, counselors, and administrators designed to provide information about grades 6–12 engineering curricula, engineering career paths, the Kansas State University College of Engineering, and student preparation for the study of engineering. The program, Engineering Education Experience (E3) was developed at Kansas State University, a midwestern university with a comprehensive engineering college. The program was created to support the University Engineering Initiative Act (UEIA). The UEIA, approved by the Kansas Legislature in 2011, provides funding for the state’s three engineering colleges to increase the number of engineering graduates in the state. In support of this plan, Kansas State University College of Engineering created E3 to inform 6–12 teachers, administrators and counselors of engineering as a topic of study and career path with the intent of reaching middle and high school students. The program was offered to teachers as a summer professional development workshop. During the summer of 2012, the Kansas State University College of Engineering hosted two 3- day engineering education workshops for teachers. Topics of lessons and activities included (a) engineering design, (b) problem-solving, (c) biological and environmental engineering, (d) nanomaterials, and (e) wind power. Activities and discussions allowed teachers to extend their knowledge of STEM topics and to meet with College of Engineering administrators, faculty, and students. Sixty-six teachers, counselors, and administrators participated in the E3 workshops. Participants included middle and high school math, physical science, biological science, and gifted teachers, along with counselors and administrators. Participants received 20 hours of professional development credit. A pre-workshop survey assessed their existing knowledge of engineering and what they hoped to learn from the workshop. Participants also completed a post workshop evaluation survey. A majority of the responses were favorable to the E3 workshop, with 98.5% of participants rating overall quality of the presenters/sessions as very good or excellent. Participants indicated satisfaction in presentations of the many areas and applications of engineering, variety of programs, and careers associated with engineering, and engineeringrelated activities for the classroom. This paper includes discussion topics and lesson plans developed for the E3 program and used during the workshop, including hands on and collaborative activities related to biological and environmental engineering, nanomaterials, and wind power.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Active diversity interaction: making choices
    (2013-10-07) Grauer, Bette; Bitsie-Baldwin, LaVerne; Wilcox, Emily; grauerb; lbaldwin
    This paper describes a program designed to encourage interaction between minority and majority student groups in engineering. Multicultural engineering advocates at Kansas State University, a predominantly white institution, developed a program designed to increase communication and interaction between multicultural engineering students and the general engineering student population. This program, Making Choices, was presented to Introduction to Engineering classes within different engineering disciplines to encourage students to engage in active diversity interaction. We defined active diversity interaction as seeking out opportunities and choosing to interact with students outside the groups in which they normally networked. During the activity, students interacted and discussed (1) underrepresented populations in engineering, (2) the need for diversity in engineering, (3) interaction opportunities, and (4) the benefits of diversity to all students. The presenters described research that has shown advantages gained from choosing diversity interactions in an academic setting, including physical and psychological health, cognitive growth, improved information transfer, and higher academic achievement. After the discussion, the students created graphs of the number of weekly interactions they had with persons of representative groups in the College of Engineering. For most students the graphs were curved showing that they had large numbers of interactions with just a few groups and small numbers of interactions with other groups. However, in the ideal engineering environment, the line should be nearly flat, showing similar numbers of interactions with all groups. A survey after the activity measured the affective responses of the students to the activity. Results of the survey indicated students tended to agree more with affective responses in the Organization category of Krathwohl’s Affective Domain than with those in the Valuing category. We concluded that many students incorporated diversity interaction into their value systems but were unwilling to self-initiate diversity interactions. We believe this indicates a need for diversity interactions to be included in the engineering curricula in order to provide the benefits that researchers have attributed to interaction between diverse groups, including improved cognitive growth and academic achievement.