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Conversation and Participation Architectures: Practices for Creating Dialogic Spaces with Engineering Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Diversity and Inclusion

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

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Paper Authors


Mel Chua Olin College

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Mel is an engineering education researcher who works with postmodern qualitative methodologies, curricular cultures within and inspired by hacker/maker communities, and engineering faculty formation. She is also an electrical and computer engineer and auditory low-pass filter who occasionally draws research cartoons.

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Tess Edmonds Olin College

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Tess Edmonds teaches and researches sustainable and human-centered design. She has facilitated design and creative practices in the context of youth leadership programs, start-ups and innovation centers, and community-based initiatives. She is currently a Design Research Fellow and Lecturer at Olin College, with a focus on processes and frameworks for transformation in engineering education. Previously, she developed and launched the Energy Technology Program at Creighton University: an interdisciplinary undergraduate program in renewable energy and sustainable design. She has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Olin College and an M.A. from Creighton University.

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This paper explores several conversation and participation architectures with affordances for holding challenging and awkward conversations: Open Sentences, Four Voices, Step-back Consulting, and Circle Way. For each architecture, we explore the origins of the technique, which range from the performing arts to spiritual practices to cultural wisdom traditions to medical school pedagogy. We then illustrate how to practice that technique in an engineering education context, highlighting the adaptations and framings we use to make it legible to a technical audience. We also discuss how each architecture is connected to various educational, psychological, and social theories that make-visible how it benefits engineering students. These architectures are compatible with a wide range of course and informal learning settings. They are focused on engaging in, observing, and reflecting-in-action on individual and group dynamics, especially in conversations that challenge personal views and comfort zones. After attending to each architecture in turn, we discuss the collection of architectures as a toolset for facilitating the development of interpersonal skills in engineering students.

Chua, M., & Edmonds, T. (2017, June), Conversation and Participation Architectures: Practices for Creating Dialogic Spaces with Engineering Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28076

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