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Engineering Visiting Fellows: A modular, low-cost model for scalable, university-facilitated international K-12 partnerships in engineering education

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2013 ASEE International Forum


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 22, 2013

Start Date

June 22, 2013

End Date

June 22, 2013

Conference Session

Track 2 - Session II - Curriculum Development

Tagged Topic

Curriculum Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

21.21.1 - 21.21.9



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Paper Authors


Jared P Coyle Drexel University

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Jared Coyle is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering at Drexel University. He earned a B.S. degree in chemical engineering from Drexel University in 2008 and an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Drexel in 2010. Coyle is a former NSF IGERT Nanotechnology Fellow with research interests in composite organic materials for electronic devices. He is also International Projects Director and a Lead Fellow on the Drexel NAE Grand Challenges NSF GK12 Program. In this role, Jared has spent the past three years bringing modern scientific perspectives to Philadelphia High Schools and Secondary Schools in East Africa.

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Jamie Lyn Kennedy Drexel University

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Jessica S Ward Drexel University (Eng. & Eng. Tech.)

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Adam K Fontecchio Drexel University (Eng.)

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Engineering Visiting Fellows: A modular, low-cost model for scalable, university-facilitated international K-12 partnerships in engineering educationThe engineering community in many nations across the world is struggling to attract and retainstudents. This is a concern because a lack of qualified engineers in society creates long-termstructural inabilities to address the challenges both developed and developing societies arefacing. Research has shown that exposure to engineering and engineering concepts at the K-12level greatly increases student interest, knowledge and retention in engineering fields. TheNational Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering provide an excellentframework for K-12 students and instructors. In this work, a scalable, modular, low-cost modelproject is presented in which engineering graduate students act as NSF-sponsored ‘VisitingFellows’ bringing the NAE Grand Challenges concurrently into two different classroomcontexts: an inner-city American partner school and a partner school in East Africa.The role of the Visiting Fellow is to prepare both classrooms for long-term internationalpartnership. A partnership is developed by having each Visiting Fellow distill her Ph.D.-levelresearch in engineering into tangible, curriculum-integrated content for the high schoolclassroom with the assistance of participating science teachers. This classroom content is turnedinto a hands-on, problem based engineering design project that emphasizes the global nature ofone or more of the NAE Grand Challenges. The visiting fellow then travels to both schools,where she helps and trains teachers to implement the design project in a two-week intensive. Afundamental tenet to each design project is the use of online communication (videoconferencing,teleconferencing, e-mail, and/or social networking) between both students and teachers fromdifferent cultures in performing background research, carrying out the engineering designprocess and delivering final design project content. The relationship developed between teachersand the use of online communication enables the project to continue long-term and at low cost.The individual projects developed and implemented are shown below:• Technology in Music and Entertainment• Designing Health Clinics for Your Partner Classroom• Enhancing Urban Infrastructure through the use of Bio-walls• Using locally grown plants to filter polluted water supplies• Light, Photography and Remote SensingThis project was carried out over a period of two years and within the context of a larger NSFGK12 grant. In the first year, a single Visiting Fellow successfully piloted the program. In thesecond year, 5 Visiting Fellows and 2 evaluators participated in a scaling of the Visiting FellowsProgram. A total of 690 students and 12 teachers at 4 secondary schools in the US and EastAfrica participated in the program. Quantitative and qualitative assessment is performed. Aprogram-specific free response and Likert-based assessment tool is administered by a third partyevaluator associated with the underlying NSF GK12 grant. This tool is used to assess studentengineering awareness, self-efficacy, and general engagement in the Visiting Scholar Program.The Draw An Engineer Test (DAET) is used to assess changes in student perception of engineersand what engineers do. The longevity of the program is explored using interviews with teachersand administrators, and the overall cost of the program is examined in the context of outcomes.

Coyle, J. P., & Kennedy, J. L., & Ward, J. S., & Fontecchio, A. K. (2013, June), Engineering Visiting Fellows: A modular, low-cost model for scalable, university-facilitated international K-12 partnerships in engineering education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE International Forum, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--17226

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