Asee peer logo

Assessing Interdisciplinary Competency in the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management Graduate Program using Concept Maps

Download Paper |

Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32113

Download Count

47

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Jessica R. Deters Virginia Tech

visit author page

Jessica Deters is a PhD student at Virginia Tech in the Department of Engineering Education. She holds a B.S. in Applied Mathematics & Statistics and a minor in the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs from the Colorado School of Mines.

visit author page

biography

Marie C. Paretti Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2202-6928

visit author page

Marie C. Paretti is a Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she directs the Virginia Tech Engineering Communications Center (VTECC). Her research focuses on communication in engineering design, interdisciplinary communication and collaboration, design education, and gender in engineering. She was awarded a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation to study expert teaching in capstone design courses, and is co-PI on numerous NSF grants exploring communication, design, and identity in engineering. Drawing on theories of situated learning and identity development, her work includes studies on the teaching and learning of communication, effective teaching practices in design education, the effects of differing design pedagogies on retention and motivation, the dynamics of cross-disciplinary collaboration in both academic and industry design environments, and gender and identity in engineering.

visit author page

biography

Christopher Zobel Virginia Tech

visit author page

Christopher Zobel is the R.B. Pamplin Professor of Business Information Technology in the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. His research and teaching interests center around humanitarian supply chains and quantifying disaster resilience to enable more effective operations management. Dr. Zobel is one of the co-Faculty Leads for Virginia Tech's NSF-funded Interdisciplinary Graduate Program on Disaster Resilience and Risk Management.

visit author page

biography

Margaret Cowell Virginia Tech

visit author page

Margaret Cowell, PhD is an Associate Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Virginia Tech. She teaches courses on economic development, urban economics, and public policy. Dr. Cowell previously worked as an Assistant Regional Economist for the Buffalo Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. She was previously a member of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation-funded research project, “Building Resilient Regions” and also part of a team of researchers assessing southwestern Virginia’s entrepreneurial ecosystem for the Kauffman Foundation. She is currently a faculty member and co-Faculty Lead for Virginia Tech’s National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) program on Disaster Resilience and Risk Management. Dr. Cowell’s research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Kauffman Foundation, National Association of Counties, and the United States Economic Development Administration. She is the author of Dealing with Deindustrialization: Adaptive Resilience in American Midwestern Regions (Routledge 2014) and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles focused on economic resilience, economic restructuring, and economic development.

visit author page

biography

Jennifer L. Irish Virginia Tech

visit author page

Dr. Jennifer Irish, professor of coastal engineering at Virginia Tech, is an expert in storm surge dynamics, coastal hazard assessment, and nature-based infrastructure for coastal hazard mitigation. Since entering academia in 2006, as lead Principal Investigator (PI) or co-PI, Irish received research grants from agencies including the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Prior to joining academia in 2006, Irish served as Regional Technical Specialist in coastal engineering for the US Army Corps of Engineers. Irish has published over 50 journal articles, and her work has been cited more than 2500 times (GoogleScholar). These scholarly contributions advanced understanding in four areas within coastal engineering and science: airborne lidar bathymetry in the coastal zone, nature-based infrastructure for coastal hazard mitigation, physics of storm surge and related probabilistic surge hazard assessment, and impacts of sea level rise at the coast. For these contributions, Irish was honored with U.S. Fulbright’s Senior Scholar Fellowship and the Department of the Army’s Superior Civilian Service Award, among other awards. Established within the international and national coastal engineering communities, Irish is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and is a member of ASCE’s Coastal Engineering Research Council. She has served as Chair of ASCE’s Committee on Technical Advancement and as Secretary of ASCE’s Coasts, Oceans, Ports, and Rivers Institute Board of Governors.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Concept maps have emerged as a valid and reliable method for assessing deep conceptual understanding in engineering education within disciplines as well as interdisciplinary knowledge integration across disciplines. Most work on concept maps, however, focuses on undergraduates. In this paper, we use concept maps to examine changes in graduate students’ conceptual understanding and knowledge integration resulting from an interdisciplinary graduate program.

Our study context is pair of foundational, team-taught courses in an interdisciplinary Disaster Resilience and Risk Management (DRRM) graduate program. The courses include a 3-hour research course and a 1-hour seminar that aim to build student understanding within and across Urban Affairs and Planning, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Geosciences, and Business Information Technology. The courses introduce core principles of DRRM and relevant research methods in these disciplines, and drive students to understand the intersections of these disciplines in the context of planning for and responding to natural and human-made disasters. To understand graduate student growth from disciplinary-based to interdisciplinary scholars, we pose the research questions: 1) In what ways do graduate students’ understandings of DRRM change as a result of their introduction to an interdisciplinary graduate research program? and 2) To what extent and in what ways do concept maps serve as a tool to capture interdisciplinary learning in this context?

Data includes pre/post concept maps centered on disaster resilience and risk management, a one-page explanation of the post-concept map, and ethnographic field notes gathered from class and faculty meetings. Pre-concept maps were collected on the first day of class; post-concept maps will be collected as part of the final course assignment. We assess the students’ concept maps for depth of conceptual understanding within disciplines and interdisciplinary competency across disciplines, using the field notes to provide explanatory context.

The results presented in this paper support the inclusion of an explanation component to concept maps, and also suggest that concept maps alone may not be the best measure of student understanding of concepts within and across disciplines in this specific context. If similar programs wish to use concept maps as an assessment method, we suggest the inclusion of an explanation component and suggest providing explicit instructions that specify the intended audience. We also suggest using a holistic scoring method, as it is more likely to capture nuances in the concept maps than traditional scoring methods, which focus solely on counting factors like hierarchies and number of cross-links.

Deters, J. R., & Paretti, M. C., & Zobel, C., & Cowell, M., & Irish, J. L. (2019, June), Assessing Interdisciplinary Competency in the Disaster Resilience and Risk Management Graduate Program using Concept Maps Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/32113

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: © 2019 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