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Collaborative Research: Design and Development: Lessons from Conducting the Skillful Learning Institute

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Patrick Cunningham Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Patrick Cunningham is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His professional development is focused on researching and promoting metacognition, self-regulated learning, and reflection among students and faculty in Engineering Education. Dr. Cunningham teaches a range of courses across undergraduate levels with specialization in dynamic systems, measurement, and control. In his teaching he seeks to apply what he has learned from his research, spurring student reflection and metacognitive growth, so that they may become more skillful learners. Skillful learners are capable, independent, and adaptable thinkers who are able to succeed wherever their career paths lead.

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Holly Matusovich Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Dr. Holly Matusovich is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Studies in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and a Professor in the Department of Engineering Education where she has also served in key leadership positions. Dr. Matusovich is recognized for her research and leadership related to graduate student mentoring and faculty development. She won the Hokie Supervisor Spotlight Award in 2014, received the College of Engineering Graduate Student Mentor Award in 2018, and was inducted into the Virginia Tech Academy of Faculty Leadership in 2020. Dr. Matusovich has been a PI/Co-PI on 19 funded research projects including the NSF CAREER Award, with her share of funding being nearly $3 million. She has co-authored 2 book chapters, 34 journal publications, and more than 80 conference papers. She is recognized for her research and teaching, including Dean’s Awards for Outstanding New Faculty, Outstanding Teacher Award, and a Faculty Fellow. Dr. Matusovich has served the Educational Research and Methods (ERM) division of ASEE in many capacities over the past 10+ years including serving as Chair from 2017-2019. Dr. Matusovich is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, Advances in Engineering Education and she serves on the ASEE committee for Scholarly Publications.

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Rachel Ellestad University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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Dr. Rachel Ellestad is the Director of the Engineering Fundamentals Program in the Tickle College of Engineering at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

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Cheryl Carrico


Carol Geary Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Carol Geary is a doctoral candidate in the Engineering Education program at Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech Carol has directed peer mentoring programs and high school STEM outreach camps. Her research interests include co-curricular support, student success, and persistence. Carol received her B.S. in Aerospace engineering from Virginia Tech.

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The Skillful Learning Institute (SLI) administered a virtual short course experience for engineering educators in order to expand the explicit engagement of engineering students in their metacognitive development, this is currently lacking. Metacognition is instrumental for one to independently assess and direct one’s lifelong learning - a lifelong skill to propel ongoing growth and development. Because of this, metacognition is essential for engineers because it empowers them to handle the ambiguity inherent to navigating and solving engineering problems. As a result of this short course, engineering educators developed a unique metacognitive activity for their context utilizing a backward design process by identifying the workshop participant’s intended results, the evidence necessary to measure the result, and the learning experience to enable the intended results. The goals of this short course were to 1) enhance the education of engineers through explicit metacognitive training and focus on instructors because of their long-term and multiplicative impact on current and future engineering students and secondary impacts on their colleagues. Furthermore, 2) to fit the needs of stakeholders and improve access to a broader, more diverse set of instructors with knowledge of metacognitive practices. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and describe the implementation of this virtual short course, high-level results of our evaluation data, and discuss lessons learned from the short course and future work as a result of this initial implementation.

Cunningham, P., & Matusovich, H., & Ellestad, R., & Carrico, C., & Geary, C. (2022, August), Collaborative Research: Design and Development: Lessons from Conducting the Skillful Learning Institute Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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