June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
ASEE Global Programs
22.749.1 - 22.749.19
Global Engineering Programs: Mapping and Supporting Diverse Learning OutcomesAbstractEngineers in both industry and academia recognize the global nature of the engineeringprofession. This has lead to calls for engineering students to develop knowledge, skills, andattitudes necessary for success within a global profession. Many institutions are developingglobally oriented programs specifically for their engineering students and are eager to know ifthese programs are helping their students to develop attributes that meet various programobjectives, accreditation requirements, and the needs and desires of prospective employers.Administrators of such programs currently lack research data to support the learning objectivesthey are setting for their programs.This paper presents select results from a qualitative study that documented the individualexperiences and learning outcomes of students involved in three different global engineeringprograms. The first program provided a portfolio of experiences including foreign languageinstruction, one semester of study abroad, internships in the U.S. and abroad, and a two-semesterglobal team design project. The second program was a one semester study abroad program inChina, and the third was a global service project whose purpose was to design an irrigationsystem for two small farms in Rwanda. Interviews were used to elicit the learning outcomes ofparticipants in these three programs. For the purpose of triangulation, program administratorswere also interviewed about their perspectives on the learning outcomes of participants.Thematic analysis was used to identify the learning outcomes of participants in these programs.The study identified more than 50 outcomes that resulted from students’ experiences in thesethree programs. The most prevalent outcomes across all three programs included knowledge ofculture, openness to new experiences and other cultures, and communication skills. This studyalso found that learning outcomes varied between programs as well as between individualparticipants. Many participants, for example, joined programs having their own personalobjectives and expectations for outcomes. In light of these findings, the paper concludes withtwo recommendations. First, it highlights the need for programs to set and communicate clearlearning objectives. Second, it discusses how global engineering program administrators shouldlook beyond current assessment strategies, which typically focus on broad outcomes such asintercultural competence. In particular, a framework for intentional and structured reflection ispresented as a desirable strategy that can help support assessment goals and student learning.
McNeill, N., & Cox, M. F. (2011, June), Global Engineering Programs: Identifying and Supporting a Diverse Array of Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18030
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