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Engineering Education In Context: An Evidence Based Intervention System

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Innovative Teaching and Assessment Tools

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.485.1 - 15.485.16



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Paper Authors

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Donald McEachron Drexel University

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Fred Allen Drexel University

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Elisabeth Papazoglou Drexel University

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Mustafa Sualp Untra Corporation

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David Delaine Drexel University

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David Hansberry Drexel University

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

Engineering Education in Context: An Evidence-Based Intervention System Abstract

An evidence-based intervention system is proposed to provide for guided evolution of engineering education programs. Too often, innovative designs for educational enhancement fall into disrepair because they embodied the unintended consequence of built-in obsolescence. The ineffectiveness of many designs has been resident in a static view of learning and teaching styles, personnel-dependence, an inability to manage changes in program size, and/or a lack of portability and adoption by the larger educational community. To avoid these specific pitfalls in our design for educational enhancement, we are: (1) employing a dynamic view of learning and teaching styles where the characteristics of student and faculty are periodically measured to establish an assessment process calibration, (2) using knowledge management systems to process voluminous data collection and analysis in an efficient and flexible manner, (3) using a modular design of an established assessment paradigm that provides points of real-time intervention to responsively optimize educational practices, and (4) using a widely-practiced assessment paradigm that confers transferability of the process with its value-added, best-practices modifications to other educational systems. The approach to accomplish these goals is based upon decision support software currently in use in business and health care. The implementation of Instructional Decision Support System (IDSS) approaches will provide rapid feedback of assessment data combined with student characteristics to empower faculty instructors and enhance student learning.

Preliminary data has provided a basic proof-of-concept for the IDSS approach. Data from the Index of Learning Styles indicated that the students surveyed were sequential, as opposed to global, learners. Instructors found that redesigning some courses to provide a more sequential, step-by-step style enhanced the student experience in selected courses. Other data showed that students surveyed were not as positively inclined towards engineering as might be expected for a biomedical engineering program. If confirmed, this data can be used to provide support for developing new educational experiences targeted to improve students’ attitudes towards the discipline.


The National Science Board has emphasized that “engineering education must change in light of the changing workforce demographics and needs”23. We face unprecedented global pressures and an ever increasing diversity in the US population. To meet the challenges of the 21st century engineering in such a competitive environment, the United States must produce the best, most adaptable and highly trained engineers possible. It is the job of engineering programs in higher education to adapt to new conditions in order to develop these innovative 21st century engineers.

In this work, the potential of a web-based knowledge management system that promotes personalized learning is investigated. The system focuses on student learning by delivering real- time information to faculty, administrators, students, and alumni to enhance curriculum

McEachron, D., & Allen, F., & Papazoglou, E., & Sualp, M., & Delaine, D., & Hansberry, D. (2010, June), Engineering Education In Context: An Evidence Based Intervention System Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16051

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