June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Universities across the country are implementing hands-on group activities in the classroom because there is evidence that they improve long-term material retention and critical thinking skills . A study at Oregon State University found that working in teams gives students opportunities to communicate with others, set group expectations, and practice conflict resolution,. all of which are skills that are highly desired in industry . A major goal of implementing groupwork into the classroom is to prepare students for integration into the workforce, yet students are not learning technical and non-technical skills equally in these types of settings. Many studies have shown that women frequently take on stereotypically feminine roles such as being the team secretary or project manager while men work on more stereotypically masculine aspects like coding and manufacturing.
The role of confidence and self-belief in the ways women and men take on technical and non-technical roles in project teams requires further study. One way of addressing the different incoming levels of technical confidence among students is to provide out-of-class, skill-building workshop opportunities that students can elect to enroll in to increase their comfort and exposure to specific technical domains. In 2003, the University of Colorado piloted a women’s-only skill-building workshop to help women build the fundamentals they need to feel comfortable working on technical roles in group projects. Students worked in small teams assemble a project requiring the use of several tools like lathes, saws, and a drill press. A similar pilot course was taught more recently at the University of Florida with women-only and co-ed sections. Both studies found similar results: Women enjoyed learning in the low-stress, grade-free environment of a workshop and they felt empowered after learning how to use tools .
A degree-granting program at The University of ________________ is focused on teaching students engineering material in a hands-on, collaborative setting. One of the degree requirements is that students must take three Engineering Design Projects classes in which student teams design and prototype various products. Students in the program take several technical skill-building workshops as part of their project and personal development. In light of the literature review, the department faculty is interested in determining how effective these skill-building workshops are at helping women feel more comfortable in technical roles, both while they are in a projects class and after course completion. Our primary research question is: “How do skill-building workshops affect a woman’s self-confidence in engineering over time?” We take a qualitative approach to answer this question. All students in the projects classes are asked to take a survey right after they finish a workshop, at the end of the semester, and a semester after they complete a projects course. These surveys will help us to gauge how confident students feel about their skills over time and what aspects of workshops to change or keep. To triangulate with the data in the surveys, we will also look at team peer evaluations and team growth plans to see what types of roles students are taking on in group projects. The goal of this study is to identify areas of improvement in the skill-building workshops and in the engineering projects classes such that all students have equitable learning experiences. ￼ References:  S. Medha “Cooperative Learning Strategies For Large Classes” Paper presented at 1998 ASEE Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, USA June 28-July 1 1998. https://peer.asee.org/6990  E. Koehn “Collaborative Learning In Engineering Classrooms” Paper presented at 2000 ASEE Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri, USA June 18-21, 2000. https://peer.asee.org/8209  N.D. Mallette, M.K. Bothwell, and C. Kelly “Developing an Integrated Curriculum-wide Teamwork Instructional Strategy” Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, June 24-27 2018. https://peer.asee.org/30299  M. Dyrud (1999, June), “Getting A Grip On Groups” Paper presented at 1999 ASEE Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA June 20-23, 1999. https://peer.asee.org/7693  L.A. Meadows and D. Sekaquaptewa “The Influence of Gender Stereotypes on Role Adoption in Student Teams” Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia, USA June 23-26 2013. https://peer.asee.org/22602  P .L. Dickrell, P. L. “Building Skills in Engineering: Hand and Power Tool Workshops for Confidence and Retention” Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah, USA June 24-27 2018. https://peer.asee.org/30164 J. Sullivan and D. Knight, “Women's Manufacturing Workshops” Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, USA June 22-25 https://peer.asee.org/11530
Keogh, M., & Zarske, M. S., & Tsai, J. Y. (2019, June), Examining How Skill-building Workshops Affect Women’s Confidence over Time Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32779
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