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Global Engineering Competencies Learned Through Virtual Exchange Project Collaboration

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 2

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Deborah Walter Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Deborah Walter is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her areas of expertise include design, and medical imaging. She started college at the University of Maryland (UMD) in College Park. After receiving her PhD at the Pennsylvania State University, she went to work for GE at the Global Research Center. She was in the Computed Tomography laboratory where she helped to design new x-ray CT systems for medical diagnostic and industrial inspection applications. She is a named inventor on 12 patents related to x-ray CT. helped found the Rose Building Undergraduate Diversity (ROSE-BUD) program. She is keenly interested in the design of medical technologies for low-resource settings.

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Megan Diane Lavery Engineering World Health


Benjamin Fleishman Engineering World Health

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Ben joined Engineering World Health in November 2011 after working in Tanzania as an On-the-Ground-Coordinator for the Summer Institute. He is an alumni of the 2009 Tanzania Summer Institute and held leadership roles in Engineers With Out Borders at Clemson University, where he received his BS in BioEngineering in 2009. His senior design project was a low cost disposable scalpel for the developing world. He has worked with students in Vietnam, Mexico and Clemson teaching seminars, labs and leading research projects.

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A virtual exchange involving 116 undergraduate STEM students in the US, Lebanon, Denmark, and Nepal was completed in the Summer of 2020. The goal of the program was to guide students through a collaborative design process where they experience working productively with people whose cultural backgrounds were different from their own.

Groups of 4-5 students worked with a facilitator over 5-6 weeks. The course has an asynchronous and synchronous component to accommodate different time zones and schedules. A series of 5 video lectures guided students’ learning along the design path. The students were directed to download a set of notes with blanks and encouraged to actively listen by filling in the notes while watching the lecture. The length of the video lectures ranges from 8 - 32 minutes. A set of 5 individual assignments (in the form of on-line quizzes) were created to support the asynchronous activities. After watching the video lecture, students are directed to complete a quiz. Responses to short-answer questions covered in the lecture and reflective exercises are collected. Students are given 1 week to complete the activity which can be asynchronously. For each of the 5 weeks the student team also worked on group assignments. Models and templates of the group assignments were created to help the student teams respond to the open-ended design process. The culminating activity for the team was to create a video presentation describing their healthcare innovation and the supporting research collected during the program.

IRB approval was obtained, and subject informed consent was requested as a pre-requisite to participation in this study. A global competency survey regarding “Cross-Cultural Collaboration” was requested from each participating student at the beginning and end of the program. Students were invited to participate in a one-on-one interview, and artifacts associated with the design process (both individual and group assignments) were collected.

This paper discusses the students’ assessment of the growth in global competency and collaboration skills. the transition from an in-person to a remote learning program, lessons learned from virtual exchange, and suggestions for future program designs.

Walter, D., & Lavery, M. D., & Fleishman, B. (2021, July), Global Engineering Competencies Learned Through Virtual Exchange Project Collaboration Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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