June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
This work in progress explores the epistemologies and discourse used by undergraduate students at the transdisciplinary intersection of engineering at the arts. Our research questions are focused on the kinds of knowledge that students value, use, and identify within the context of an interdisciplinary digital media program, and exploring how their language reflects this. Our theoretical framework for analyzing epistemology draws upon qualitative work in STEM epistemology (Faber & Benson, 2017; Lising & Elby, 2005; Monfort, Brown, & Shinew, 2014), domain specificity (Buehl, Alexander, & Murphy, 2002; Palmer & Marra, 2008), and epistemological camps (Yu and Strobel, 2011; 2012). Further, to analyze the language used by participants (as well as the interviewers themselves), we employ the use of discourse analysis as the study of language-in-use (Gee 2010) to explore the intersection of personal epistemology and identity as well as epistemological tensions in the context of this digital media program.
Six interviews were conducted with students pursuing a semester-long senior capstone project in a digital media undergraduate degree program that emphasizes the intersection between arts, media, and engineering. Student demographics included 5 female and 1 male participant, race/ethnicities include white (2), Hispanic or Latino (2), Native American (1), and multiracial (1). The interviews were semi-structured, and questions centered around students' experiences pursuing a capstone project and how they utilized/identified with both artistic and engineering knowledge in the context of these projects.
Preliminary findings show that students showcase a variety of epistemologies including positivism, constructivism, and pragmatism while engaged in their studies. This gives rise to the idea of "border epistemologies" as a way to think and/or construct knowledge that may receive different value from discipline to discipline. Further, discourse analysis highlighted students' identifications with being either an artist or engineer, and revealed issues around the intersectionality of identity, and gender diversity that serves as a sub-context underlying the use of knowledge in these situations. Discourse analysis additionally showed that students sometimes struggle to reconcile the kind of knowledge and problem-solving approaches valued in artistic disciplines with those valued in engineering disciplines. Future research aims to synergistically combine these two strands of epistemological and discourse analysis as well as compare this group of students with different students pursuing more traditional engineering capstone projects, to understand more deeply knowledge generation and utilization in these transdisciplinary arts and engineering programs.
Cruz, J. M., & Bruhis, N., & Kellam, N. N., & Jayasuriya, S. (2019, June), Board 45: Work in Progress: Epistemologies and Discourse Analysis for Transdisciplinary Capstone Projects in a Digital Media Program Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32353
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