June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Minorities in Engineering
24.146.1 - 24.146.23
African American High School Students’ Human-Centered Approach to Design Stacie L. Gregory Ph.D. Candidate in Engineering Education at Utah State UniversityIn engineering education, service learning is gaining momentum not only as a promising pedagogicalapproach, but also as an effective tool to increase recruitment and retention, especially amongunderrepresented populations (Baillie, Pawley & Riley, 2012). Howard University disclosed that amajor reason their students site for leaving engineering is “lack of civic engagement” (Fleming,Engerman, & Williams, 2006). Survey results from SLICE (Service-Learning Integrated throughoutthe College of Engineering) revealed that female and non-Caucasians ranked “helping others” as aprimary motivation to study engineering (Barrington & Duffy, 2007). At Purdue University’s EPICSHigh (Engineering Projects in Community Service), the student demographics is forty-four percentfemale and sixty-one percent underrepresented minorities (www.engineering.purdue.edu/EPICSHS).Integrating Human Centered Design (HCD) with service learning may present a reciprocal relationshipas students gain valuable learning experiences while the needs of the community are met. HCD drivesthe approaches that meet human needs with innovative solutions that work in specific cultural andeconomic contexts. Students knowledgeable of HCD are equipped with the essential skills for theEngineer of 2020 (National Academy of Engineering, 2004). In addition to having a competitiveadvantage in a global workforce, engineers skilled in HCD are empowered to address the GrandChallenges identified by the National Academy of Engineering.Coupling the formal training of human centered design with service learning activities may proveinvaluable in recruiting and retaining African Americans in engineering. Developing curriculum toteach human-centered design in ways that appeal to African American students requires anunderstanding of how these students naturally approach design from a human-centered perspective.This research investigates how African-American high school students apply HCD thinking to open-ended design. Using a mixed-method approach, quantitative and qualitative data is triangulated toassess how frequently students contemplate the desires and requirements of the user.Data used for this study were gathered as part of a larger NSF funded DRK12 study titled, “ExploringEngineering Design Knowing and Thinking as an Innovation in STEM Learning” (Becker and Mentzer(2011 & 2012). High School participants from four states were asked to think out loud during a threehour Playground Design Challenge (Atman et al. 1999) which was video and audio recorded.This current work includes analysis of the following artifacts: video/audio recordings; paper-basedartifacts of students design work captured on paper; and follow-up interviews. The total time theparticipants dedicated to the challenge was also included as part of the data collected. Transcribed dataand student sketches were coded into four coding categories. (1) Information Requests; (2)Constraints; (3) Playground Safety Guidelines; and (4) Context-of-use.Data analysis suggests a connection between the extent the user was considered during the designprocess and student ethnicity. The number of transcribed statements focusing on the user is higher forAfrican American students. These students more frequently request demographics and handicappedaccessibility information and account more often for safety and handicapped accessibility constraints.
LeSure, S., & Mentzer, N., & Becker, K. H. (2014, June), African-American High School Students' Human-Centered Approach to Design Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20037
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