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A Case-Study Approach to Interlink Humanities with Engineering Education

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

Integrating Liberal Education and Engineering

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27447

Download Count

19

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Paper Authors

biography

Ravi T. Shankar Florida Atlantic University

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Ravi Shankar has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, and an MBA from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL. He is currently a senior professor with the Computer and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at Florida Atlantic University. His current research interests are on K-12 education, engineering learning theories, and education data mining. He has been well funded by the high tech industry over the years. He has 7 US patents, of which 3 have been commercialized by the university. This research work is a collaboration with the Children's Services Council of Broward county in FL.

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biography

Diana Mitsova Florida Atlantic University

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Diana Mitsova has a background in research design, statistical and spatial analysis, as well as environmental planning and modeling using geographic information systems, and interactive computer simulation. Her primary area of research involves the impact of urban development on ecosystems and other environmentally sensitive areas.Her recent publications focus on the impact of climate-related stressors on coastal communities and the implementation of planning approaches related to enhancing coastal resilience to natural hazards. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, National Park Service through FAU Environmental Sciences Everglades Fellowship Initiative, USGS, and The Nature Conservancy.

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Alka Sapat Florida Atlantic University

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Alka Sapat is an associate professor of public administration at Florida Atlantic University. Her research interests include disaster and crisis management, environmental policy and justice, federalism, and social networks analysis. She was a Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation's "Next Generation of Hazards Researchers" program and has been involved in a number of initiatives including NSF funded projects on topics of building code regulation, disaster-induced population displacement, and the role of diasporas in disaster recovery and resilience. Her work has been published in the Natural Hazards Review, Public Administration Review, the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, and other scholarly venues. Sapat’s teaching interests include disaster management and homeland security, disaster planning and public policy, research methods, and statistical analysis. She serves on the Florida State Disaster Housing Task Force and the Governor’s Hurricane Conference committee, along with serving on local committees on post-disaster housing initiatives.

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biography

David J. Terrell Florida Atlantic University

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Mr. David Terrell earned a Master of Science in Computer Science from Florida Atlantic University in
2015 and has worked within the Engineering field since completing his degree. The objective of Mr.
Terrell's graduate research was to identify socioeconomic demographic risk factors impacting the life chances of minority groups within 100 of the top populated metropolitan areas in the USA.

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Abstract

This paper focuses on creating greater opportunities and preparation for engineers to engage in interdisciplinary endeavors, as related to complex sociotechnical systems. Engineers first need to become aware of the societal needs and their various influencing factors, before they can apply their problem solving skills to improve the status-quo. Engineering students, accustomed to working with well-defined problems, may be baffled by the ambiguity and uncertainty in social and community issues. Social science students, on the other hand, are trained to make sense out of ill-defined problems. Thus, teaming up students from these two different backgrounds can help identify and solve (perhaps iteratively) societal challenges. To facilitate such a collaboration, faculty members from engineering and social sciences will concurrently teach courses for students in their disciplines, and bring their students together during the semester to interact and collaborate. Each team of 4 students will be assigned a case study to discuss, collect data on, and analyze by conducting what-if analysis. We have developed a specific application to showcase the flow to our students. For this we examined the top 100 US metropolitan areas for socio-economic demographics of four racial/ethnic groups and corresponding police-initiated homicides. Data for this came from federal, state, and county agencies, as well as non-governmental agencies. A J48 – decision tree algorithm written in Python was used to compare data across different races and ethnic groups for factors that predicted such homicides. As an example of results, the most important criteria was whether or not a person attended “some college.” Metropolitan crime rate and poverty level were not relevant. We hypothesize that, by providing scaffolding, and ’executable’ case studies through interaction with other disciplines, we can help engineering students to step out of their comfort zones and reflect on broader societal issues. The what-if case studies can also be introduced to high school students and sophomores in college through introductory social science courses. Since social science student populations are typically more diverse, the collaboration of students from these different disciplines will facilitate interaction and appreciation of different genders, ethnicities, worldviews, and multicultural norms. A community case study may also interest under-represented minorities (URM) and women to Computer Science and Data Science. Case studies may provide a path to invite and integrate fresh perspectives by actively recruiting URMs and women. Our approach is derived from two theoretical models with strong emphasis on student involvement in the learning process: active student engagement and project-based learning. Both approaches assume active student participation in learning practices where exchange of ideas, extensive collaboration, and interdisciplinary synergies are essential. We will also leverage two pedagogies: scaffolding students in their metacognition process to become self-directed learners and creation of a teaching program focusing on case discussion pedagogy. We expect to offer our courses during fall 2017. We will use pre and post surveys to measure improvements, if any, in students’ team skills, social awareness, and the metacognition process.

Shankar, R. T., & Mitsova, D., & Sapat, A., & Terrell, D. J. (2017, June), A Case-Study Approach to Interlink Humanities with Engineering Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27447

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