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Exploring Perceptions of Disciplines Using Arts-informed Methods

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

First-year Programs: Student Perceptions and Perspectives

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34644

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34644

Download Count

107

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Paper Authors

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Matthew B. James Virginia Tech

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Matthew James is an Assistant Professor of Practice in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, and is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Virginia. He holds bachelors and masters degrees from Virginia Tech in Civil Engineering.

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Homero Murzi Virginia Tech Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-3849-2947

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Homero Murzi is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He holds degrees in Industrial Engineering (BS, MS), Master of Business Administration (MBA) and in Engineering Education (PhD). Homero has 15 years of international experience working in industry and academia. His research focuses on contemporary and inclusive pedagogical practices, industry-driven competency development in engineering, and understanding the barriers that Latinx and Native Americans have in engineering. Homero has been recognized as a Diggs scholar, a Graduate Academy for Teaching Excellence fellow, a Diversity scholar, a Fulbright scholar and was inducted in the Bouchet Honor Society.

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Jason Forsyth James Madison University

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Jason Forsyth is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at James Madison University. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech in May 2015. His major research interests are in wearable/ubiquitous computing and engineering education.

His wearable computing work develops safety systems that provide continuous monitoring and sensing to protect human life. Previous work examined the role of wearable pulse oximetry in protecting construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning and developing a warning system for road-side workers and emergency personnel to estimate potential vehicle strikes. His current research interests focus on on-body human activity recognition and interactive machine learning for physical therapy patients and practitioners to increase exercise adherence and clinical evaluation.

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Lilianny Virguez University of Florida

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Lilianny Virguez is a Lecturer at the Engineering Education Department at University of Florida. She holds a Masters' degree in Management Systems Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. She has work experience in telecommunications engineering and has taught undergraduate engineering courses such as engineering design at the first-year level and elements of electrical engineering. Her research interests include motivation to succeed in engineering with a focus on first-year students.

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Pamela L. Dickrell University of Florida

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Dr. Pamela Dickrell is the Associate Chair for Academics in the Department of Engineering Education, in the UF Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Her research focuses on effective teaching methods and hands-on learning opportunities for undergraduate student engagement and retention. Dr. Dickrell received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida, specializing in Tribology.

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Abstract

This complete evidence-based practice paper describes a methodology used in a general first-year engineering program to explore students’ perceptions of engineering through the use of drawings. One of the primary objectives of the first-year program is to help students develop a sense of identity within the field of engineering, as well as, understand basic engineering knowledge and skills, which in turn will support them in their selection of an engineering major (among 15 different options) and ultimately in their persistence toward their selected degree. Hence, understanding students’ preconceptions of the engineering discipline when they start their academic program is crucial. However, many students entering the program come with narrow preconceptions or limited knowledge about the profession. One challenge instructors face is how to facilitate students’ thinking about their own perceptions of engineering in a meaningful way. A typical activity to help the students understand their perceptions of the engineering discipline is to ask them “What is engineering?” However, instructors have been frustrated by the lack of depth in students’ responses. This paper explores a different methodology to explore students’ perceptions of the engineering discipline by taking an arts-informed approach; instead of writing down their perceptions or talking with a peer, students are first asked to draw the response to the question “What is engineering?” Approximately 150 students participated in this activity during the first class at the beginning of their first semester in engineering (Fall 2018), across 6 sections of the first in a two sequence, foundations of engineering course, taught by two instructors.

Our work was informed by the theoretical framework developed by Capobianco et al. (2011). They used the Draw An Engineer Test (DAET) to identify how elementary school students perceived an engineer. In their work, they were able to identify the actions performed by an engineer, and the artifacts used by an engineer from the students’ perspectives. They were also able to categorize an engineer into 4 different groups: (1) mechanic, (2) laborer, (3) technician, (4) designer. Although this work has been used previously in engineering education research and provides insightful data on kids’ perceptions of an engineer, we are taking a different approach. We are interested in understanding not the perceptions about the person (i.e. the engineer), but about the discipline. Hence, we used Capobianco et al. (2011) work to inform our approach to data collection and analysis.

This paper presents preliminary results on the analysis of the students’ perceptions of the engineering discipline through art-based techniques using a visual methods qualitative approach. It has been suggested that these types of approaches can facilitate more meaningful conversations between instructors and students regarding their previous preconceptions of disciplines. We used these methods to investigate students’ drawings to observe how they organized their thoughts and chose to represent their views. Data were analyzed using open coding of the draws and the analysis was conducted by 3 different researchers. The researchers agreed on an initial codebook. Some descriptive statistics are presented to understand the different aspects highlighted by the students in their draws.

Anticipated results provide an insightful representation of undergraduate engineering students preconceptions about the discipline in terms of the context in which they believe engineering happens, the typical work performed in the discipline, the tools and artifacts used in the discipline, the types of problems the discipline solves, and the scope of the field. We provide implications for research and practice and recommendations on how first-year engineering instructors can use this information to better understand their own students' preconceptions about engineering to help them develop a complete and critical understanding of what engineering is.

James, M. B., & Murzi, H., & Forsyth, J., & Virguez, L., & Dickrell, P. L. (2020, June), Exploring Perceptions of Disciplines Using Arts-informed Methods Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34644

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: © 2020 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