Asee peer logo

Development of Empathy in a Rehabilitation Engineering Course

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34457

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34457

Download Count

92

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Lauren Anne Cooper California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

visit author page

Lauren Cooper earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering with a research emphasis in Engineering Education from University of Colorado Boulder. She is currently an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her research interests include project-based learning, student motivation, human-centered design, and the role of empathy in engineering teaching and learning.

visit author page

biography

Amanda Johnston Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5737-7798

visit author page

Amanda Johnston is a PhD candidate in engineering education at Purdue University.

visit author page

biography

Emily Honor Hubbard California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-6716-9770

visit author page

Emily Hubbard is a Mechanical Engineering undergraduate student at California Polytechnic State University. She cares about students, especially at the university level, enjoying their learning. Emily is currently researching how a Rehabilitation Engineering course can affect a students' self-rated level of empathy.

visit author page

biography

Brian P. Self California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

visit author page

Brian Self obtained his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Utah. He worked in the Air Force Research Laboratories before teaching at the U.S. Air Force Academy for seven years. Brian has taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo since 2006. During the 2011-2012 academic year he participated in a professor exchange, teaching at the Munich University of Applied Sciences. His engineering education interests include collaborating on the Dynamics Concept Inventory, developing model-eliciting activities in mechanical engineering courses, inquiry-based learning in mechanics, and design projects to help promote adapted physical activities. Other professional interests include aviation physiology and biomechanics.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Having empathy is an important skill that allows engineers to design for users with a variety of different wants, needs, and perspectives. The purpose of this study was to examine changes in engineering students’ development of interpersonal empathy as they progressed through a 10-week Rehabilitation Engineering course. Empathy is composed of five affective and cognitive constructs: affective response (AR), affective mentalizing (AR), self-other awareness (SOA), emotion regulation (ER), and perspective-taking (PT). These five constructs must co-occur to bring about the full expression of empathy. During the course, 24 students worked with clients from the local community to design a solution to meet their rehabilitation needs. In addition to the projects, student assignments included reflection prompts, four hours of community service, and several empathy “immersion” experiences (i.e., wearing a blindfold while trying to complete basic tasks). Seven students opted to participate in the study, all in their 4th or 5th year in either biomedical or mechanical engineering. Students completed pre- and post-course surveys aimed to measure changes in self-reported levels of empathy. One student participated in a personal interview, aimed at understanding the different ways in which the course activities influenced his development of empathy. All seven students who participated in the study reported an increase in empathy. Students’ perspective-taking and self-other awareness had the highest pre- to post- course increase. Despite the limitations of a small sample size, there is some indication that participating in a rehabilitation engineering course positively influences students’ development of empathy.

Cooper, L. A., & Johnston, A., & Hubbard, E. H., & Self, B. P. (2020, June), Development of Empathy in a Rehabilitation Engineering Course Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34457

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: © 2020 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