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A Qualitative Analysis of How a Student, Faculty, and Practicing Engineer Approach an Ill-structured Engineering Problem

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: Student Development

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34039

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34039

Download Count

83

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Paper Authors

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Secil Akinci-Ceylan Iowa State University

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Secil Akinci-Ceylan is a PhD student in Educational Technology in the School of Education at Iowa State University.

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Kristen Sara Cetin P.E. Michigan State University

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Dr. Kristen S Cetin is an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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Benjamin Ahn Iowa State University of Science and Technology

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Dr. Benjamin Ahn is an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University in the Department of Aerospace Engineering.

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Bora Cetin Michigan State University

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Andrea E. Surovek South Dakota School of Mines and Technology

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Dr. Andrea Surovek is a research scientist and faculty development coordinator at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She is the recipient of the ASEE CE Division Seeley Fellowship and the Mechanics Division Beer and Johnston Outstanding New Mechanics Educator Award.

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Abstract

Solving open-ended complex problems is an essential part of being an engineer and one of the qualities needed in an engineering workplace. In order to help undergraduate engineering students develop such qualities and better prepare them for their future careers, this study is a preliminary effort to explore the problem solving approaches adopted by a student, faculty, and practicing engineer in civil engineering. As part of an ongoing NSF-funded study, this paper qualitatively investigates how three participants solve an ill-structured engineering problem. This study is guided by the following research question: What are the similarities and differences between a student, faculty, and practicing engineer in the approach to solve an ill-structured engineering problem? Verbal protocol analysis was used to answer this research question. Participants were asked to verbalize their response while they worked on the proposed problem. This paper includes a detailed analysis of the observed problem solving processes of the participants. Our preliminary findings indicate some distinct differences between the student, professor, and practicing engineer in their problem solving approaches. The student and practicing engineer used their prior knowledge to develop a solution, while the faculty did not make any connection to outside knowledge. It was also observed that the faculty and practicing engineer spent a great deal of time on feasibility and safety issues, whereas the student spent more time detailing the tool that would be used as their solution. Through additional data collection and analysis, we will better understand the similarities and differences between students, professionals, and faculty in terms of how they approach an ill-structured problem. This study will provide insights that will lead to the development of ways to better prepare engineering students to solve complex problems.

Akinci-Ceylan, S., & Cetin, K. S., & Ahn, B., & Cetin, B., & Surovek, A. E. (2020, June), A Qualitative Analysis of How a Student, Faculty, and Practicing Engineer Approach an Ill-structured Engineering Problem Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34039

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