June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Educational Research and Methods
22.209.1 - 22.209.11
Analyzing the Transformative Nature of Engineering Education ProposalsThe current study analyzed proposals submitted to the National Science Foundation’s CourseCurriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program at three time intervals, the Type 1deadlines of 2005, 2009, and 2010. The goal of this study was to explore the potential impact ofproposal submissions with regard to how proposers conceptualize transformative changes inengineering education. One major factor that influenced this study is the recent name change ofthe program from CCLI to Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology,Engineering, and Mathematics (TUES). The name change was made to emphasize interest inprojects that have the potential to transform undergraduate education in STEM fields.This study investigated the following research questions: 1) did the name change from CCLI toTUES impact the transformative nature of proposal submissions, 2) what is the nature ofdifferences between awarded and declined proposals over the three years, and 3) how doinvestigators interpret, define, and operationalize transforming undergraduate education in theirproposed activities? To analyze the transformative nature of proposals we used Reigeluth’s(2008) framework that states transformation occurs only by simultaneous change in threedifferent areas. The areas necessary for educational transformation include 1) a core focus onteaching and learning, 2) social relationships within the local environment or institution (internalrelations), and 3) external relationships between the local setting and the environment. Wedeveloped a rubric based on Reigeluth’s three areas as well as the TUES review criteria ofintellectual merit and broader impact.The TUES program is inclusive of ten disciplinary tracks; however, our study focusedspecifically on engineering-focused proposals submitted to the engineering, assessment/researchand interdisciplinary tracks. We analyzed all awarded proposals in 2005, 2009, and 2010 andselected a random sample of declined proposals for comparison purpose. We selected these threeyears since they represent proposal submissions immediately before and after the program namechange, and 2005 data provides a longitudinal perspective on the nature of proposal submissions.The total sample included 260 proposals from 2005, 378 proposals from 2009, and 318 proposalsfrom 2010. The slight variation in totals is due to the overall number of submissions received peryear; however, the percentage of proposals analyzed each year was consistent and representsapproximately 30% of submissions received that year. Furthermore, since our sample includedapproximately 1000 proposals, we coded and analyzed data only from the project summary.Results showed statistically significant differences between awarded and declined proposalsalong several “transformative” categories. In addition, we found statistically significantdifferences in several categories between proposal submitted in 2005, 2009, and 2010. Thispaper will report these findings and discuss how proposals submitted to the CCLI/TUESprogram align with various aspects of educational transformation as discussed in the literature.ReferenceReigeluth, C. M. (2008). Chaos theory and the sciences of complexity: Foundations fortransforming education.
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