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Board # 7 :Reflection Enhances Student Engagement and Team Service Project Implementation in a Bioengineering Honors Program (Work in Progress)

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Biomedical Division Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Dianne Grayce Hendricks University of Washington

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Dr. Dianne G. Hendricks is a Lecturer in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, where she leads the Bioengineering Outreach Initiative, Bioengineering Honors Program, and the Bioengineering Summer Camp in Global Health. She holds a PhD in Genetics from Duke University, and BS in Molecular Biology and BA in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Hendricks’ teaching activities at the University of Washington include introductory and honors courses in bioengineering, tissue and protein engineering lab courses, bioengineering ethics, leadership, and bioengineering capstone writing and design courses. She is committed to enhancing diversity and inclusivity in engineering, and creating opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in K-12 educational outreach. Dr. Hendricks has over a decade of experience leading educational outreach and summer camp programs at both Duke University and the University of Washington.

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Work-in-Progress: Reflection Enhances Student Engagement and Team Service Project Implementation in a Bioengineering Honors Program

Reflection is a process in which one examines current or past experiences, and then uses this information to inform future actions. In engineering courses, reflection is primarily used to promote cognitive development. In addition, reflection is associated with improvements in social skills, civic engagement, and attitudes toward self and learning.

In this work-in-progress, we describe our novel implementation of reflection to enhance student experience in the Bioengineering Honors Program at [institution], in which students complete a seminar and address needs in the bioengineering community through year-long team service projects. Over the past three years, we have increased both the frequency and scaffolding of reflection. To scaffold individual written reflection, we clearly identify the connection to learning objectives and include supporting class discussions and assignments. The instructor observes striking improvements in overall student engagement and team service project implementation, and these observations are supported by student feedback. In addition, our efforts seem to make reflection more enjoyable for the students. Finally, the increased frequency and quality of reflection provide valuable formative assessment for the instructor.

Innovations in our efforts to increase frequency and scaffolding of reflection include: 1) Assigning reflections both before and after in-class discussions. 2) Scaffolding reflection with in-class “speed dating” interviews followed by small group discussions (for example, to generate criteria for team service project proposals). 3) Before students complete end-of-program individual reflections, asking students to complete a team evaluation and create a manual for sustainability of their project.

For example, this year we are using reflection to give students more ownership and increased stake in selecting their team service projects. (In previous years, project teams were formed using an online discussion board.) This year, prior to team formation, we assigned a written reflection in which students identified a need in the bioengineering community, a personal interest or experience that may be valuable, and one skill that they want to learn or develop. In the next class, students discussed their reflections and pitched their project ideas. Then, students reflected on how these activities influenced their thinking about potential honors projects.

We consider several indicators of student engagement, including: 1) Perceived student engagement based on instructor observations and informal student feedback; 2) Quantitative analysis of student activity, including timely submission of assignments, participation in online discussion board, and length of reflections; and 3) End-of-course student surveys. We assess team service project implementation by: 1) Outcomes of team service projects and quality of project deliverables; 2) Instructor’s interactions in team check-in meetings; and 3) Content of student reflections during design and implementation of project.

In conclusion, this work-in-progress describes our novel implementation of reflection to enhance student experience in the Bioengineering Honors Program at [institution]. Preliminary results indicate that our innovations in reflection improve student engagement in the program overall, and promote better design and implementation of year-long team service projects.

Hendricks, D. G. (2017, June), Board # 7 :Reflection Enhances Student Engagement and Team Service Project Implementation in a Bioengineering Honors Program (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27907

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