July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Design in Engineering Education
Supporting students to frame design problems is one of the most challenging aspects of engineering education, and as faculty, sharing agency with students, such that they have framing agency to make decisions that are consequential to the problem frame is difficult. In this paper, we report on students’ progress framing authentic problems early and after four months of work. Set in a high-agency, co-curricular intramural program where students work on interdisciplinary design projects, we found, using surveys and student work, that early in the process, students reported open-ended problems constrained somewhat by budget or design requirements. Over time, they came to recognize their own limitations as constraining, became more tentative in their treatment of the problem, and reported opportunities to learn from their own and peers’ decisions. Students who reported opportunities to learn also reported working on somewhat more constrained problems yet being able to make consequential decisions. Collectively, this suggests problems that offer a Goldilocks middle ground, that include endemic constraints yet allow students to make consequential decisions may be a key ingredient for developing problem framing capacity. We share instructional implications related to supporting students to differentiate between design requirements and constraints, in shifting from qualitative understandings to quantitative requirements and their role in doing so, and navigating their own limitations.
Olewnik, A., & Svihla, V. (2021, July), Framing Engineering Problems in an Intramural Context Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37206
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