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Collaboration within Engineering Education Research’s Community of Practice

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

Methodological & Theoretical Contributions to Engineering Education 1

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.279.1 - 24.279.18



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Paper Authors


Scottie-Beth Fleming Georgia Institute of Technology

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Scottie-Beth Fleming is an Aerospace Engineering PhD student and NSF GRFP Fellow in the Cognitive Engineering Center (CEC) at Georgia Tech. She graduated with honors from Georgia Tech in 2009 with a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering and in 2013 with an M.S. in Aerospace Engineering. Her research within the CEC examines training approaches for pilots, interdisciplinary teams within the engineering design process, and human interaction with technology.

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Collaboration within Engineering Education Research’s Community of Practice Engineering Education Research (EER) is a relatively young field of inquiry,established with the intent to improve the academic experiences of young and emergingengineers. Researchers who examine engineering education overwhelmingly havebackgrounds in discipline-specific engineering areas (e.g. mechanical engineering,aerospace engineering, and systems engineering). Further, many of these researchers arehoused in their primary discipline’s academic department and thus interact withengineering students regularly through teaching and advising. These engineeringeducation researchers often collaborate with individuals from different departments sincemany faculty members in their home department do not share a common interest in EER.This type of multidisciplinary distribution of expertise likely enables and encouragescollaboration between engineering education researchers from a variety of backgrounds. While many of these researchers’ perceptions of how to improve engineeringeducation stem from traditional classroom experiences, a select group of researchersbelongs to departments, labs, and centers primarily devoted to studying EER. Further,many of these academic programs are increasingly graduating more masters and doctoralstudents with a specific research focus in engineering education. While these programsoffer engineering education researchers a new opportunity to collaborate with other like-minded individuals, they may also limit researcher motivation to interact outside theirknown network and within a multidisciplinary, collaborative environment. This paper uses scientometrics and social network analysis (SNA) to examine themulti-disciplinary nature of publications from the Journal of Engineering Educationbetween the years 2007 to 2012. Specifically, we are striving to answer the question“How is collaboration within the EER community of practice impacted by an individual’sacademic department and experience?” The hypothesis associated with this researchquestion has two parts:Hypothesis 1a: Individuals in formal engineering education research lab settings tend tocollaborate with others from similar programs.Hypothesis 1b: Individuals performing engineering education research outside of formalengineering education lab settings tend to collaborate with a wider community of STEMresearchers.A comparison will be made between the impact and production of researchers belongingto EER-specific departments and those belonging to traditional engineering departments.Through SNA, coauthors and their corresponding demographics will be used to identifycollaboration trends and emerging themes. Measures such as the EI Index will provide aquantitative assessment of “within group” and “between group” collaborations. Further,centrality measures will give a glimpse at the most connected researchers and also thosewith the greatest placement of importance within the network for exchanging informationbetween two disconnected groups.

Fleming, S. (2014, June), Collaboration within Engineering Education Research’s Community of Practice Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20170

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