June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Ocean and Marine
22.648.1 - 22.648.20
Evaluating the Impact of an Underwater Robotics Competition: Questions, Methodologies and FindingsThe Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center has been sponsoring regional andinternational underwater robotics competitions for 10 years. In that period, thousands of studentsand educators have taken part in the independent evaluation of the program, reported annually tothe National Science Foundation. The evaluation sheds light on the impacts of involvement inthis hands-on engineering design competition. Evaluation topics include changes in studentawareness of and interest in pursuing a marine STEM career, interest in studying STEM topics,STEM knowledge and skills, and SCANS skills.Overall, evaluation results indicate that the competitions have had a profound effect on bothstudents and faculty. Students report that due to the competition they are more aware of careersin marine science and technology and are more interested in pursuing a career in these fields.The competitions have led to new opportunities for the students, including scholarships,internships, university admissions, and employment. Faculty report that the competitions havemotivated their students to improve their technical skills, as well as their skills in problemsolving, teamwork, and critical thinking.The competitions have had a positive impact on faculty as well. Faculty report that theirinvolvement in the competitions contributed to their own scientific and technical knowledge andopened new professional and educational opportunities for them, as well as new collaborativeopportunities for their schools.Over time, the MATE Center’s evaluation has continued to evolve, responding to shifts inprogramming as well as new topics of interest among educational researchers. For instance,recent research in the field has stressed the importance of family support in a student’s decisionto pursue a STEM career. (See Siobhan Bredin et al., A Summary of the Report on the NSFITEST Convening: Defining an Afterschool Research Agenda, June 2010.) In the 2009-2010MATE Center program-year, parental input was solicited for the first time. The majority of theparents of competition participants reported that participation in the competition influenced howthey envision their child’s future, making it easier to picture their children in a STEM career.They also provided observations of changes that they observed in their children due to thecompetition.This session will present an overview of the evaluation: methodology, evaluation challenges,research questions, and findings.
Mann, C. (2011, June), Evaluating the Impact of an Underwater Robotics Competition: Questions, Methodologies, and Findings Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17929
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