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Enhancing Campus Collaborations Through Design Research In Engineering Education Reform

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Conference

2004 Annual Conference

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Engineering/Education Collaborators

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

9.562.1 - 9.562.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/12750

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

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Tom Thompson

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Terri Fiez

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Larry Flick

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Edith Gummer

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

Session 3130

Enhancing Campus Collaborations Through Design Research in Engineering Education Reform

Tom Thompson, Larry Flick, Edith Gummer, Terri Fiez

Department of Science and Mathematics Education/Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Oregon State University

Abstract

Successful collaborations are important to implementation of systemic reforms in undergraduate engineering education. Evidence for this exists with the formation of national coalitions of engineering programs and campus collaborations between professionals in engineering and education. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Oregon State University has worked in collaboration with university science education researchers to implement large-scale curriculum reform based on a platform for learning. This collaboration between engineers and educators has been enhanced through the use of an emerging educational research paradigm called design research. Design research uses a team to manage a series of iterative cycles of educational design, implementation, and evaluation. Each cycle provides the empirical evidence needed to improve instruction, and refine educational theory. Data is gathered within the context of an authentic complex educational setting enhancing its explanatory power over data gathered through more traditional methods of educational research and evaluation. Educational design research has proven to be particularly effective at OSU since it provides a common point of reference for discussions about education between engineers and education researchers. This paper summarizes the design research process as it is used at OSU to reform engineering education. The paper points out the parallels between this method of educational research and engineering design that have enhanced this campus collaboration. Design research and the specific illustrations of its use in engineering education reform at OSU provide additional tools for reforming higher education and, in particular, engineering programs at other universities.

Complexity and Collaboration in Reform

Proposals for reform in undergraduate science and engineering education during the last three decades are common. Yet, undergraduate education looks very much the same today as it did prior to reform agendas. This is not to say that change is non-existent. The published literature describes new instructional techniques or assessment adopted by individual faculty, a small team, or even a multiple institution consortium. Entire courses or degree programs are frequently developed to accommodate proposed reform. However, even when backed by NSF funding, these reforms have proven difficult to institutionalize and disseminate beyond pilot projects.1

At issue with reform and its dissemination is a tension between the complexity of an educational problem and the desire for simplicity in a solution. A study of curriculum reform in the

Thompson, T., & Fiez, T., & Flick, L., & Gummer, E. (2004, June), Enhancing Campus Collaborations Through Design Research In Engineering Education Reform Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/12750

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