Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
International cross-cultural experiences have become essential components in the education of engineering students to enhance teamwork and communication skill development across different cultural and language boundaries. To this end, a customized 12-day international summer boot camp was designed to bring together third-year students from Universidad Politécnica de Guanajuato (Mexico) and post-grad students from two United States institutions (Lamar University and Texas State University) to i) promote cross-cultural collaboration and skill development in engineering, ii) increase awareness of study abroad opportunities, iii) create a network of students and faculty experts to interact and share ideas and resources in English, and iv) increase confidence in public speaking. The camp was hosted by Texas State University. The engineering students participated in several hands-on activities, that included both non-technical skill activities in the beginning of the camp that transitioned to more technical, engineering-related activities at the end of the camp. Some of the activities included: i) contextualized grammar and vocabulary exercises, ii) contextualized team building and leadership training using Six Thinking Hats, iii) delivering technical and non-technical engineering presentations, iv) engineering design, building, and testing using CAD and 3D printing, v) design of lean assembly lines, vi) product life management, vii) discrete event simulation of an auto-part manufacturing process, and viii) using machine learning for detection of faulty automobile components. In addition to curricular camp activities, the students also participated in several fun extra-curricular activities that included a river float near campus.
Program outcomes and objectives were assessed by quantitatively capturing student cross-cultural skill development, confidence, and teamwork skills using a pre/post questionnaire. The findings suggest that having engineering students from Mexico and the United States working as one team provided a unique opportunity for students to understand the importance of enhancing communication and interpersonal skills in order to be successful in solving real-world engineering problems. Student engineering teams were able to communicate effectively and evaluate work to improve design effectiveness while solving a real-world engineering design problem. Furthermore, by working in a team with culturally diverse students, participants better understood the role that a diverse group plays in the learning process in general and in personal development in specific. Participants have increased their self-confidence and improved their interpersonal skills. They acquired a better understanding of how to interact with people from different cultures and learned other ways of seeing the world.
Brake, N. A., & Sehin, O., & Partain, J. W., & Valles, D., & Marquez, A., & Jimenez, J. A., & Saltsman, G., & Davis, R. (2020, June), Cross-cultural Engineering Skill Development at an International Engineering Summer Boot Camp Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34357
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