June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.500.1 - 26.500.14
Developing Global Competency through Extracurricular Activities: A Case Study of Student Participation in Engineers Without BordersMotivation & BackgroundGraduating engineering students that have the competencies to work in a global context hasbecome a pressing need for engineering programs. Study abroad programs, virtual globalcourses, and courses and modules focused on engineering for a global society, are allpedagogical approaches to improving engineering students’ global competencies. Extracurricularactivities, such as Engineers Without Borders (EWB), offer students an opportunity to beimmersed with global engineering challenges throughout students’ undergraduate careerswithout interrupting curricular obligations. The purpose of this study was to better understandengineering students’ experiences in an extracurricular activity focused on global engineeringissues. Understanding participating students’ perspectives can help identify the affordancesand/or barriers of EWB that most influence students’ development as global engineers.MethodologySpecifically, this study investigated a group of students voluntarily participating in EngineersWithout Borders (EWB) at a large research-oriented state institution. Qualitative methods wereused to understand students’ experiences of students regularly and actively participating in anEWB project. An external researcher conducted naturalistic observations, interview, and focusgroup discussions. The primary purpose of this investigation was to understand students’experiences, rather than to measure learning outcomes, justifying a qualitative approach.ResultsRecruitment issues, perceived time commitment, and gaps in knowledge transfer betweenoutgoing and incoming student members, were salient barriers to the sustainable success ofEWB. However, once students commit to an EWB project, EWB serves as an example of howengineering students can be exposed to educational yet authentic global engineering experiencesin ways that are meaningful and impactful to each student. Consistently active student membersexhibited an awareness and capacity to work productively within the boundaries of an unfamiliarcultural context, successfully communicating and achieving the defined goals and tasks, as wellas exhibiting capacity to work across disciplinary and cultural boundaries to achieve a commongoal.
Kusano, S. M., & Johri, A. (2015, June), Developing Global Engineering Competency Through Participation in “Engineers Without Borders” Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23839
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