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Developing An Engineering Education Research Community Of Practice Through A Structured Workshop Curriculum

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

Building Communities for Engineering Education Research

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.437.1 - 11.437.13



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Paper Authors


Maura Borrego Virginia Tech

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MAURA BORREGO is an assistant professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Borrego holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University. Her current research interests center around interdisciplinary collaboration in engineering education, including studies of the collaborative relationships between engineers and education researchers and how engineering faculty learn educational research methods.

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Ruth Streveler Colorado School of Mines

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RUTH A. STREVELER is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines and Research Associate Professor in Academic Affairs. Dr. Streveler holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Master of Science in Zoology from the Ohio State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Indiana University at Bloomington. She is co-principle investigator of three NSF-sponsored projects: Developing an Outcomes Assessment Instrument for Identifying
Engineering Student Misconceptions in Thermal and Transport Sciences (DUE - 0127806), Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (ESI-0227558), and Rigorous Research in Engineering Education: Creating a Community of Practice (DUE-0341127).

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Nancy Chism Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

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Karl Smith University of Minnesota-Twin Cities


Ronald Miller Colorado School of Mines

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RONALD L. MILLER is professor of chemical engineering at the Colorado School
of Mines where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted research in educational methods for the past twenty years. He has received three university-wide teaching awards and has held a Jenni teaching fellowship at CSM. He has received grant awards for education research from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education (FIPSE), the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Developing an Engineering Education Research Community of Practice through a Structured Workshop Curriculum Abstract-- This paper reports initial assessment and research results from the NSF- funded Rigorous Research in Engineering Education (RREE) workshops. The workshops are funded for three years (from 2004 to 2006), and the workshop experience includes both a 5-day summer workshop and a year-long experience that allows participants to conduct a small education research project guided by a more experienced mentor. This paper focuses on the results of the 2004 and 2005 RREE workshops and changes made to the 2005 workshop to promote a community of practice. Implications are also drawn for those interested in building engineering education research capacity.

Three important changes were made to the workshop format to further promote formation of a community of practice in 2005. • Allowing participants to group themselves into “intellectual neighborhoods” by self-selecting other participants with similar or complementary interests. • Using participant-created posters both as performance outcomes, and as a venue for sharing ideas and obtaining feedback from fellow participants and workshop facilitators. (This included formal presentations at the end of the workshop.) • Structuring a research methods session around facilitator-defined participant groups with similar research interests.

Initial results indicate that activities in the original workshop structure as well as the updates helped participants to focus on engineering education research questions of personal interest while building a community that extends beyond the week-long workshop.

1. Introduction Calls for embracing more rigorous research in engineering education are emerging with increasing frequency [1-5]. The Journal of Engineering Education has reinvented itself as a research-based journal [6-7]. Both Lee Schulman of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Gary Gabriele of the National Science Foundation chose this venue to argue in editorials that the same standards of rigor applied to technical engineering research need now be applied to engineering education [4-5]. Gabriele also explained that the Engineering Education and Centers Division of the National Science Foundation has “moved its engineering education programs from a focus on reform to an emphasis on research.” [5]. Likewise, national reports and commissions originating in the education disciplines are also calling for more rigorous education research, specifically the National Research Council (NRC) reports How People Learn [8] and Scientific Research in Education [9].

In response to calls such as these and the urgent need for rigorous engineering education research conducted by engineering faculty knowledgeable about the state-of-the-art in education research methods, the National Science Foundation has funded “Rigorous

Borrego, M., & Streveler, R., & Chism, N., & Smith, K., & Miller, R. (2006, June), Developing An Engineering Education Research Community Of Practice Through A Structured Workshop Curriculum Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--607

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2006 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015