Asee peer logo

An Emancipatory Teaching Practice in a Technical Course: A Layered Account of Designing Circuits Laboratory Instructions for a Diversity of Learners

Download Paper |


2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Technical Courses and Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Linda Vanasupa Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

visit author page

Linda Vanasupa has been a professor of materials engineering at the California Polytechnic State University since 1991. She is a professor of materials engineering at Olin College. Her life's work is focused on creating ways of learning, living and being that are alternatives to the industrial era solutions--alternatives that nourish ourselves, one another and the places in which we live. Her Ph.D. and M.S. degrees are in materials science and engineering from Stanford University and her B.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from the Michigan Technological University.

visit author page


Lizabeth T. Schlemer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

visit author page

Lizabeth is currently a visiting professor in engineering education at Cal State LA. She is also a professor at Cal Poly, SLO in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She has been teaching for 26 years and has a track record of using innovative pedagogy such as project based, flipped classroom and competency grading to support students success. Currently her research is in the area of social justice in Engineering Education.

visit author page


Yevgeniya V. Zastavker Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

visit author page

Yevgeniya V. Zastavker, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Physics at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and a recent Director of the Research Institute for Experiential Learning Science at Northeastern University. She earned her B.S. degree in Physics from Yale University in 1995 and her Ph. D. degree in Biological Physics from MIT in 2001. Dr. Zastavker's research interests lie in the field of STEM education with specific emphasis on innovative pedagogical and curricular practices at the intersection with the issues of gender and diversity. With the goal of improving learning opportunities for all students and equipping faculty with the knowledge and skills necessary to create such opportunities, Dr. Zastavker's recent work involves questions pertaining to students’ motivational attitudes and their learning journeys in a variety of educational environments. One of the founding faculty at Olin College, Dr. Zastavker has been engaged in development and implementation of project-based experiences in fields ranging from science to engineering and design to social sciences (e.g., Critical Reflective Writing; Teaching and Learning in Undergraduate Science and Engineering, etc.) All of these activities share a common goal of creating curricular and pedagogical structures as well as academic cultures that facilitate students' interests, motivation, and desire to persist in engineering. Through this work, outreach, and involvement in the community, Dr. Zastavker continues to focus on the issues of women and minorities in science/engineering.

visit author page

Download Paper |


This paper is about the liberal education goal of emancipation in the domain of thought. Specifically, liberal education’s aim is “to achieve freedom from self-imposed constraints, reified social forces and institutions, and conditions of distorted communication” (Ewert, 1991, p. 354.) As middle-aged female engineering faculty, the authors recognize that our enculturation in engineering and science has “bound” our thinking to conform to masculine norms. Through a classroom intervention intended to serve a diversity of learners, the authors have uncovered a liberational pathway for engineering faculty and students. The pathway involved caring for students through linguistic, epistemic and aesthetic shifts in the existing laboratory documentation for first year engineering students. These actions transcend what are normally hidden engineering and science education values and norms; they are in the “invisible” causal domains of intent, and design. In this quasi-autoethnography, we unpack themes from student focus groups that illustrate that the interventions served to disrupt the distorted messages that learners normally receive about themselves from traditional engineering and science education settings. Our reflections on our (i.e., the Authors’) own learning journeys, along with our descriptions of the interventions and analyses of focus group reflections provide a rich picture of a liberational pathway for engineering and science educators who desire a liberal education. This path liberates engineering faculty and student alike while not sacrificing the technical content.

Vanasupa, L., & Schlemer, L. T., & Zastavker, Y. V. (2020, June), An Emancipatory Teaching Practice in a Technical Course: A Layered Account of Designing Circuits Laboratory Instructions for a Diversity of Learners Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34113

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015