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Exploring Engineering: Peer-sharing Presentations in First-year Engineering Curriculum

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Focus on Student Success 2

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37141

Download Count

33

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Paper Authors

biography

Elizabeth Anne Stephan Clemson University

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Dr. Elizabeth Stephan is the Director of Academics for the General Engineering Program at Clemson University. She holds a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Akron. Since 2002, she has taught, developed, and now coordinates the first-year curriculum. She is the lead author of the "Thinking Like an Engineer" textbook, currently in its 4th edition.

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Abigail T. Stephan Clemson University

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Abigail Stephan is a doctoral candidate in the Learning Sciences program at Clemson University. Broadly, her research interests include intergenerational learning in informal settings and self-directed learning. Since 2017, Abigail has been the graduate assistant for the General Engineering Learning Community (GELC), a program that supports first-year engineering students in their development of self-regulation and time management skills, effective learning strategies, and positive habits of mind.

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Baker A. Martin Clemson University

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Baker Martin is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University and teaches in the General Engineering Program as part of the first-year engineering curriculum. His research interests include choice and decision making, especially relating to first-year engineering students’ major selection. He earned his B.S. from Virginia Tech and his M.S. from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, both in chemical engineering.

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Matthew K. Miller Clemson University

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Matt Miller is a Senior Lecturer in the General Engineering Program at Clemson University, where he teaches first-year engineering courses related to engineering problem solving, Microsoft Excel, MATLAB programming, and coordinates a program supporting engineering students who are underprepared in mathematics through an extended curriculum model. He has a background in Industrial Engineering and Engineering and Science Education.

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Abstract

This Complete Evidence-Based Practice paper discusses the use of peer sharing presentations across sections of a first-year engineering course at Clemson University. Titled “Exploring Engineering,” the assignment series allows students to become familiar with significant issues and initiatives in the field of engineering and explore those of most interest to them. Adapted from a peer sharing presentation series in the General Engineering Learning Community’s learning strategies course [1], [2] at Clemson, the Exploring Engineering series acts as an innovative way for relevant content to be delivered among peers, allowing for engagement as active learners in the collaborative construction of new knowledge. While the Exploring Engineering assignment series has been utilized in both in-person and online formats, this paper focuses exclusively on the process and outcomes from the virtual format.

Each round of Exploring Engineering focuses on a different “theme,” or overarching category of interest under the broad umbrella of engineering. The three themes within this course include the National Academy of Engineering’s (NAE) Grand Challenges for Engineering [3], Engineering Ethics and Disasters, and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals [4]. While presenting traditional first-year engineering topics in class (e.g., temperature, energy, force, etc.), the Exploring Engineering themes are used to help guide conversations and frame class problems. These themes also allow students to investigate their engineering major of interest and learn about the interests of their peers while completing the assignments for each theme. Within each round, there are four distinct, yet interconnected, assignment components. These include selecting and researching a relevant topic, creating a brief set of engaging slides, reviewing the slides of several peers, and reflecting on the experience.

The effectiveness of the Exploring Engineering peer sharing presentation series as a course activity is evaluated through an exploratory qualitative approach [5]. Data collected from student reflections are utilized in the analysis to identify salient themes and highlight impactful experiences with the Exploring Engineering activity. Results include a heightened understanding of the utility of an engineering degree, connection and sense of community between peers, association between in-class concepts and real-world applications, and knowledge of global issues. Lessons learned and recommendations for future implementation, specifically within the online format, are discussed.

Stephan, E. A., & Stephan, A. T., & Martin, B. A., & Miller, M. K. (2021, July), Exploring Engineering: Peer-sharing Presentations in First-year Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37141

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015