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Affordances and Barriers to Creating Educational Change: A Case Study of an Educational Innovation Implemented into a First-year Engineering Design Course

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Evidence-based Practices in Faculty Development

Tagged Topic

Faculty Development Constituency Committee

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29762

Download Count

9

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Paper Authors

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Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Sarah Zappe is Research Associate and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement and testing. In her position, Sarah is responsible for developing instructional support programs for faculty, providing evaluation support for educational proposals and projects, and working with faculty to publish educational research. Her research interests primarily involve creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship education.

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Megan Huffstickler Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Megan Huffstickler in an Academic Adviser in the Biology Department at Penn State. Her undergraduate work is in Chemistry, and she will be receiving an MS in Educational Psychology from Penn State in May 2018.

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Joseph C. Tise The Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Joseph Tise is a doctoral candidate in the Educational Psychology program at Penn State University. His research interests include self-regulated learning, measurement, and connecting educational research to practice.

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Thomas A. Litzinger Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Thomas A. Litzinger is Director of the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Penn State. His work in engineering education involves curricular reform, teaching and learning innovations, assessment, and faculty development. Dr. Litzinger has more than 50 publications related to engineering education including lead authorship of an invited article in the 100th Anniversary issue of JEE and for an invited chapter on translation of research to practice for the first edition of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. He serves as an Associate Editor for Advances in Engineering Education and on the Advisory Board for the Journal of Engineering Education. He was selected as a Fellow of ASEE in 2008 and of ASME in 2012. He holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from RPI, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton.

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Sven G. Bilén Pennsylvania State University, University Park Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-5416-7039

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Sven G. Bilén, Ph.D., P.E. is Professor of Engineering Design, Electrical Engineering, and Aerospace Engineering at Penn State and Head of the School of Engineering Design, Technology, and Professional Programs. His educational research interests include developing techniques for enhancing engineering design education, innovation in design, teaching technological entrepreneurship, global product design, and systems design.

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Abstract

This evidence-based instructional-practice paper describes a case study of the implementation of an educational innovation into a multi-instructor, multi-section first-year design course in the College of Engineering at Penn State University. Although literature from education and psychology fields provides many examples of how to enhance student learning, adoption rates for evidence-based instructional practices have been fairly low among engineering faculty. Even when teaching and learning centers are able to facilitate the adoption of evidence-based practices, encouraging a large fraction of engineering faculty to make substantial changes in instruction remains very challenging. This paper describes an educational innovation adopted by the engineering design program and the results of a qualitative study focusing on the affordances and barriers that emerged during the change process. The findings show that affordances that supported change were related to flexibility, fit of the instructional methods with the course, meeting a perceived need, ease of use, and financial incentives offered by the college’s teaching and learning center. A sense of community yet autonomy also encouraged faculty to participate. Barriers included implementation ambiguity, time required to implement and to prepare, and a perceived lack of expertise in some of topics involved in the innovation such as ethics. Faculty resistance to change, the logistical concerns of the course, and characteristics of the university, as well as interpersonal dynamics also impacted the likelihood of adoption. The results are discussed in terms of implications for faculty developers and teaching and learning centers.

Zappe, S. E., & Huffstickler, M., & Tise, J. C., & Litzinger, T. A., & Bilén, S. G. (2018, June), Affordances and Barriers to Creating Educational Change: A Case Study of an Educational Innovation Implemented into a First-year Engineering Design Course Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29762

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