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A History of Engineering Education Research in Portugal and Ireland

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

24.55.1 - 24.55.7

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Paper Authors

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Sheryl A. Sorby Ohio State University


Bill Williams Setubal Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16

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Bill Williams originally trained as a chemist at the National University of Ireland and went on to work in education in Ireland, UK, Eritrea, Kenya, Mozambique and Portugal.
He lectures on technical communication at the Instituto Politécnico de
Setúbal and at IST, Universidade de Lisboa.

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Jose Manuel Nunes Oliveira Universidade de Aveiro

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José Manuel Oliveira is Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering (Electronics) at the Higher Education Polytechnic School of Águeda, University of Aveiro, Portugal. He has been deeply involved with the coordination of the move towards Project-Based Learning at his institution, and his research interests focus on Engineering Education, conceptual understanding in Electronics and Problem/Project Based Learning. He is a member of the Board of the SEFI Working Group on Research in Engineering Education and of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Engineering Education. He is also a referee for the Journal of Engineering Education. José Manuel Oliveira has also led several staff training workshops on Active Learning Strategies and Project-Based Learning.

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Gavin Duffy University of Limerick Orcid 16x16

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Dermot Brabazon P.E. Dublin City University

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The American Society for Engineering Education is the oldest professional society in the world that issolely dedicated to the betterment of engineering education. In its early days, ASEE was a gatheringof faculty who wanted to improve the practice of engineering education through experimentationwith new curricula, new teaching styles, or new gadgets. Presentations often consisted of “this iswhat I did” and “this is how the students reacted.” Beginning in the 1990s, through the influx offederal dollars in the Coalitions, a new discipline began to emerge—Engineering Education—andalong with this discipline a research area was born. At this point in time, the concept of rigorousEngineering Education Research (EER) is fairly well-established in the US, with dedicated programsfor EER at the National Science Foundation, PhD degree programs in EER, and the reinvention of theJournal of Engineering Education to support this endeavour. Departments dedicated at least in partto Engineering Education Research are emerging on campuses across the country. There has alsobeen an emergence of Engineering Education Research across the globe; however, efforts in othercountries have often been slower due to many factors.This paper describes the history of Engineering Education Research in two countries in the EuropeanUnion—Portugal and Ireland using as a framework Fensham’s Criteria for Defining the Field ofScience Education Research. The evolution of EER in these two countries will be set in a largerglobal context.The contribution of the paper is two-fold: firstly it will provide a snapshot of the evolution of EER inthese two countries which can be used as a benchmark for future studies of the two nationalcontexts; in addition the approach presented can be readily adapted to inform research in otherglobal contexts.

Sorby, S. A., & Williams, B., & Oliveira, J. M. N., & Duffy, G., & Brabazon, D. (2014, June), A History of Engineering Education Research in Portugal and Ireland Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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