Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
This research paper characterizes different student experiences within a global engineering program. As the engineering workplace becomes more globalized, it is important for engineering students to be exposed to different cultures and ways of approaching engineering. Increasing numbers of global engineering programs are being developed to address this need, but outcomes for the programs vary. Research has begun to explore how specific types of programs may influence student learning differently. However, another variable to consider is the students themselves. Due to students’ varied backgrounds and prior experiences, different students may experience the same global program differently. Accordingly, we will address the following mixed methods research question: How can we characterize varied student developmental experiences within a global program? In particular, this study will examine broad patterns in the development of intercultural competence (quantitative analysis) and the global experiences associated with these patterns (qualitative analysis).
This mixed methods study explores the variation in student experiences in a global engineering program by employing the cross-case comparison analysis technique. The global program under study involved a semester-long course on global engineering practice followed by a two-week study abroad module at the end of the semester. Students completed the Cultural Intelligence Inventory (CQS) on the first day of class, last day of class, and after the conclusion of the international experience. Student scores on the four CQS sub-scales from each of the three administrations of the survey were used in a cluster analysis to find trajectories of intercultural competence development. This process identified different “paths” of development over the course of the global program (e.g., students who start off with relatively high intercultural competence and grow a small amount by the end of the program vs. those who start with little and experience more growth). We next compared student journals across clusters to further characterize these developmental paths. Journals were coded for themes within a cluster and then compared across clusters to see if there are unique aspects to the experiences described by students in each cluster. This study will further the research on global engineering programs by exploring how such a program may influence students in different ways. Understanding this has implications for both research and practice. Research has often focused on the types or components of global programs as a factor in the outcomes, but this study will explore possible variations of experience within a single program. In addition, this study leverages a mixed-methods approach to connect changes in intercultural competence to patterns in students’ experiences of the global engineering program. This provides an example of how data can be meaningfully mixed to draw more powerful inferences than either data source could provide alone. From a practice perspective, this study will offer insights into the different ways students experience a global engineering program and develop intercultural competence, allowing practitioners to adapt program components to accommodate these different developmental paths.
Davis, K., & Reeping, D., & Taylor, A. R., & Edwards, C. D., & Murzi, H. G., & Knight, D. B. (2018, June), Characterizing Students’ Intercultural Competence Development Paths Through a Global Engineering Program Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30187
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