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Augmenting Traditional ME Curriculum with Digital Badge Microcredentials

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Capstone Design

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Andrea Gregg Pennsylvania State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Gregg is the Director of Online Pedagogy and an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Penn State Mechanical Engineering department. She facilitates faculty development to maximize teaching and learning efficacy throughout the ME curriculum, with a primary focus on online learning. She is also responsible for leading quality instructional design for residential and online offerings; facilitating an activity community of practice for Mechanical Engineering faculty dedicated to continuous quality improvement in pedagogy; and leading and evaluating emerging educational technology innovations such as digital badges, adaptive learning, and learning analytics. She conducts research related to the scholarship of teaching and learning in Mechanical Engineering in order to improve practice in the department and contribute to the national and international Engineering Education research community through presentations and publications.

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Eric Marsh Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Eric Marsh is the Arthur L. Glenn Professor of Engineering Education and Associate Head for Undergraduate Programs. He has worked with departmental colleagues to introduce several new required courses in the mechanical engineering program. He is an ABET program evaluator and leads the ME accreditation effort at Penn State.

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Karen A. Thole Pennsylvania State University

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Dr. Karen A. Thole is a Distinguished Professor and head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University. She holds two degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. As the Department head, her administrative and educational efforts have focused on significantly growing the faculty, diversifying the faculty and students, and emphasizing interdisciplinary research. Dr. Thole successfully led the effort to establish an online Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and the development and approval of a Master of Science (resident) / Master of Engineering (online) in Additive Manufacturing and Design, which was the first such degree offered in the United States. Dr. Thole has been recognized for her efforts in mechanical engineering education and diversity as a U.S. White House Champion of Change, and by ASME’s Edwin F. Church Medal, ABET’s Claire L. Felbinger Diversity Award, and SWE’s Distinguished Engineering Educator Award. She has also been recognized for her faculty mentoring efforts through Penn State’s Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award and Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award.

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Digital badges and microcredentials were initially the vision of educational technology thought leaders and visionaries and have been promoted as a potential alternative to traditional credentialing. Recent years have seen more mainstream adoption of digital badges offered by traditional higher education institutions; MOOC providers like EdX; and large companies such as Walmart and IBM. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at [University name] has been offering microcredentials since 2018 and as of Spring 2021 has awarded over 210 individual badges. In this paper we provide a brief overview of the contemporary microcredentialing landscape; describe our pedagogical framework and infrastructure for designing and implementing digital badges within Mechanical Engineering; and highlight key findings from learning analytics and student experiential data.

Gregg, A., & Marsh, E., & Thole, K. A. (2021, July), Augmenting Traditional ME Curriculum with Digital Badge Microcredentials Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36734

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