July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Design in Engineering Education
The training of engineers often focuses on technical aspects, relegating the role of broader social issues to secondary considerations. Although disciplinary knowledge is important, engaging in engineering also means participation in and designing for communities of practice. Drawing on sociocultural theories of learning and Contextual Social Awareness in engineering, this study investigates how the hybrid use of technical and social dimensions in engineering frames students’ design considerations at different points in the engineering pathway. Frameworks developed in prior literature on problem scoping in design tasks fall short in capturing changes to social awareness in responses from students. Through this study, we expanded prior frameworks by measuring changes in social awareness through a new binary variable we call Contextual Social Awareness (CSA). This current study further explored the CSA variable by providing a broad description of the types of factors students considered in their design. The results suggest that an expanded conception of engineering beyond the technical leads to an increase in students’ awareness of broader issues in design. Participants asked questions about who benefits from solutions, which types are conceived, and who designed them. The participants also explored the role of these inquiries in creating solutions while keeping the often-competing needs of different groups in mind. Our findings highlight the generative potential of contextualizing the design task by providing opportunities for students to consider both the technical and the social dimensions of their work.
Keywords: Engineering; contextual social awareness; domain analysis; social frames; technical frames
Pérez, G., & Sheppard, S., & Nittala, S., & Muller, C. B. (2021, July), Contextual Social Awareness in Design: Engineering Education as a Catalyst for Change Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36843
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