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Exploring the Self in Engineering Education: The Design of a Self-Reflective Workshop Series to Position Students for Self-Regulation

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.742.1 - 26.742.13



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Paper Authors


Richard J. Aleong Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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Richard J. Aleong is a Research Associate in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He received his Master’s of Applied Science in Mechanical and Materials Engineering with a focus on engineering design education from Queen’s University and his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical and Materials Engineering from Queen’s University. His research interests are in engineering student identity, interdisciplinary collaboration, qualitative research methodology, and learning and teaching in higher education.

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David S Strong P.Eng. Queen's University

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David joined Queen’s in 2003 as the NSERC Chair in Design Engineering. In this faculty-wide appointment, he works collaboratively on design and professional practice education initiatives with all engineering departments. David’s experience includes over two decades in the private sector in engineering and management with three companies, spanning the aluminum industry, biomedical and biotechnology instrumentation, and high volume consumer products. David has received multiple teaching awards and holds patents in broad areas of practice. He was a co-founder of the Canadian Engineering Education Association, and currently holds the role of Past-President. His research areas include engineering education and applied research and development activities in partnership with industry.

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Exploring the Self in Engineering EducationLifelong learning has been widely identified by engineering accreditation boards in Canada, theUnited States, and internationally, as one of the attributes to be developed in students enrolled inundergraduate engineering degree programs. To foster the skills of lifelong learning, a researchstudy is in progress that aims to explore engineering students’ self-awareness in relation to theirengineering education and future careers. Knowledge about the self and the skills for self-reflection are applicable to lifelong learning as these are important elements to recognize one’sindividual learning needs and assessment methods. This research, specifically targeting theaspect of self-awareness relating to how students see their current selves in their education andtheir possible selves in their future career, may offer ways to enhance students’ intrinsicmotivation to learn engineering. Additionally, exploring how students see themselves in theirengineering studies may help students develop self-determining and self-regulating behaviour intheir learning.Undergraduate engineering students at one mid-size University will be invited to participate in aseries of two professional development workshops designed to elicit their thinking about whothey are as an engineering student and how they think about the person they hope to become intheir future career. As well, students will be asked to write a personal statement outside of theworkshops, that describes how they think about themselves in engineering education and howthey envision the person they wish to become.The interactive workshops are designed with two integrated objectives: 1) as a learningopportunity for students and 2) as a research site for data collection. As a learning opportunity,students will engage with their peers in self-reflection, and share perspectives about who theyare, the manner in which they approach their work, and the meaning this work has for them. Forresearch purposes, participants will complete an entrance and exit questionnaire, generateartefacts through self-reflection and discussion exercises, and submit their personal statementafter the workshops. All of these instruments will be used for research data collection. The datawill be analyzed using qualitative research methods to identify categories and themes ofparticipants’ experiences and to draw insight for engineering pedagogy on students’ sense of self.This research may also serve to promote larger scale engineering curriculum developmentthrough dissemination initiatives such as a student and/or faculty program of engineeringprofessional development workshops that can be integrated with or independent of the academiccurriculum. Overall, the research aims to offer educators with insight into new ways to promotethe skills of lifelong learning in their teaching practice, as well as providing students with avalue-added learning opportunity outside of the traditional curriculum. This study is a work inprogress, with research ethics for human participation currently under review and the firstworkshops scheduled for January 2015.

Aleong, R. J., & Strong, D. S. (2015, June), Exploring the Self in Engineering Education: The Design of a Self-Reflective Workshop Series to Position Students for Self-Regulation Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24079

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