July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
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 ,  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 , Engineering Ethics and Disasters, and the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals . 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 . 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
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