June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.31.1 - 24.31.27
A community of practice approach to becoming an engineering education research professional Engineering education research is an emerging profession that brings together methods, tools, and concepts from many disciplines. Entering graduate students are brought into new bodies of knowledge, methods, language, and concepts that may require significant shifts in how they think about the scholarships of discovery, application, and impact. Similarly, in more established disciplines, graduate students are brought into relatively defined and stable ideas about research that may be so tacit and deeply embedded that it can be difficult to gain access to and learn about the principles that guide scholarly. In graduate education, the community of practice framework can be a useful model for designing learning experiences that bring new people into a profession and support their development of professional ways of thinking, acting, and being. The community of practice framework is a form of cognitive apprenticeship in which experts (old-‐timers) model their approaches to novices (newcomers), performing a task such that newcomers can build their own mental models on what is required to accomplish the same task. This makes visible the how, when, and about what that shapes what old-‐timers do in everyday professional work and what is involved in being a member of a community of practice. It also helps newcomers see that learning is about growth and that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process – getting beyond naïve beliefs about “good performance” as a smooth and easy process. In this paper we describe a one credit 50-‐minute course, in which research faculty have 20 minutes each to share the behind-‐the-‐scenes backstory of one of their own research publications (including works-‐in-‐progress) – the motivation behind the study, the theories that guided the study, the collaboration experience, the process for building and substantiating findings, the choices made to communicate the impact of the work, and the various failures and false starts experienced over the study timeline. They were also encouraged to share their approaches to apprenticing protégés into the profession and any lessons learned about the research endeavor including ways to link research and practice. Students read the two papers and post a reflection on a Blackboard discussion board focusing on issues in the papers they would like to hear about, and then engage in an open and informal discussion of the behind-‐the-‐scene story of scholarly research in engineering education. We describe the critical elements of the course including the theories used to shape the course, the activities and learning objectives, and the course outcomes. Outcomes of the experience are summarized in terms of (1) the kinds of questions or issues students wanted to hear, (2) the kinds of stories faculty shared, and (3) what students took away form the course regarding what it means to be an engineering education professional and what it means to connect research and practice. Overall, our experience suggests that this apprenticeship model is a low investment but high impact approach to preparing future professionals.
Adams, R., & Berdanier, C. G., & Branham, P. A., & Choudhary, N., & Fletcher, T. L., & Goldstein, M. H., & Joslyn, C. H., & Mathis, C. A., & Siverling, E. A., & Buswell, N. T., & Wilson, M. D. (2014, June), A Community of Practice Approach to Becoming an Engineering Education Research Professional Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. https://peer.asee.org/19923
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