San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.289.1 - 25.289.19
Encouraging Graduate Student Efforts to Disseminate Research Efforts and Outcomes: Case Study of a Showcase EventAbstract Graduate students in engineering are strongly encouraged to disseminate their efforts andtheir findings through topical outlets including peer reviewed publications and conferencepresentations. However, many graduate students either do not pursue or are not successful insuch endeavors. Informal discussions with many graduate students at a large Midwestern civilengineering department identified three primary impediments in this regard: inexperience withresearch poster preparations, inadequate oral communication skills, and limited time resources.To help minimize such impediments and to help students enhance their success in professionaldissemination efforts; graduate student leaders in the department organized and executed aResearch Showcase and Poster Competition. It was designed to specifically provide posterpreparation practice, improve oral communication skills, and build confidence. The inter-divisional Research Showcase and Poster Competition was designed to mimic aposter session at typical professional conferences. Considerations in this regard included thereview and feedback process adopted, the quality expected from participants, advancesubmission of the posters, judging and audience participation. A specific evaluation rubric wasdeveloped for the competition. Activities prior to the event included a widely publicized call forabstracts, an on-line abstract submission portal, faculty review of abstracts, and invitation ofselected students to prepare posters. Further, the participants were provided guidelines (e.g.,poster design criteria, preparation tips, and attire expectations) and the evaluation rubric to beused. Examples of efforts to minimize the burden on the participants included electronic postersubmission; convenient event location in the department’s primary building; and printing,framing, and installing of posters on behalf of the presenters. The event was publicized widely to a broad audience, which included faculty,professional staff, undergraduate and graduate students. A panel of judges (senior faculty fromthe Department and practitioners who represented the Department of Natural Resources and theDepartment of Transportation) used the evaluation rubric to assess the presentations and theyprovided formal critique of each presenter’s ability to communicate their research. Surveys were designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the event, and they wereadministered prior to, during, and after the event. A total of 185 responses were received forthese surveys. A preliminary analysis of the surveys indicated that the event was a notablesuccess as indicated by the following: 70 percent of the respondents reported learning somethingfrom the event; 93 percent of the respondents recommended that the department support suchevents in the future. The surveys indicated that the competition has addressed the primary goal ofincreasing awareness among students the importance of dissemination of research efforts andfindings. Further, the post-event surveys completed by a majority of the presenters revealed thatparticipation in the competition has increased their interest in pursuing opportunities to presenttheir research findings at professional settings. To achieve a greater impact in this regard, futureefforts must target and work to change the perceptions of those for whom research disseminationdoes not appear to be a priority.
Becker, T. C., & Sikkema, J. K., & Oneyear, N. L., & Nambisan, S. S. (2012, June), Catalyzing Graduate Student Research Dissemination: Case Study of a Technical Poster Competition Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21047
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: © 2012 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