July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
TELPhE Division Technical Session 1: Expanding Technological and Engineering Literacies
Technological and Engineering Literacy/Philosophy of Engineering
This paper reports on an automated assessment to improve the systems thinking abilities of both engineering and non-engineering students. The program compares any node-and-link diagram of a system created by a student to an expert-generated diagram and produce a similarity rating. The ability to describe a technological system in the form of a diagram is an important element of engineering literacy. Creating a diagram that shows how system inputs are transformed into outputs by a network of interconnected components is also one characteristic of systems-level thinking. Systems-level thinking is critical for engineers as most modern engineered products are technological systems. Systems thinking includes the ability to adopt a holistic, integrative, synthesis perspective, identify system elements and their interactions, and recognize dynamic characteristics. Currently systems thinking is time-consuming for instructors to assess manually. This work reports on the use of automated assessment. The automated assessment compares favorably with by-hand evaluation of student diagrams by the instructor. The study was conducted with Introduction to Engineering students. Students we asked to create system diagrams of common household appliances. On average, the instructor rated each question slightly lower than the algorithm by about 5-9 percent. These are very encouraging results given that only the current basic algorithm was employed with no additional training of the algorithm for this specific problem. The time required to conduct a computer evaluation was about one minute per diagram. Automated instructional aids will become increasingly important in higher education. This work furthers the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge of advancing personalized learning by investigating the extent to which the critical engineering skill of systems thinking can be algorithmically assessed and improved. Systems thinking is a vital capability that industry finds lacking in entry-level engineers. The project will improve system analysis ability of engineers. Systems thinking is a portion of engineering available to anyone without the mathematics prerequisites. The non-engineering students participating in the study achieve results comparable to engineering students.
Krupczak, J., & Shahhosseini, A. M., & Stephenson, D. R. (2021, July), Computerized Algorithmic Approaches for Evaluating Systems Thinking of Both Engineers and Non-Engineers Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36831
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