June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
NSF Grantees Poster Session
23.649.1 - 23.649.9
Grand Challenges DELI (Discover, Explore, Learn & Imagine) Project UpdateIn August, 2011, researchers in the College of Engineering at a public Research I university inthe southwest United States received an NSF Transforming Undergraduate Education in STEM(TUES) Type I grant for a project titled “Transforming the Undergraduate EngineeringExperience: Using the Cyberinfrastructure to Introduce the Grand Challenges for Engineering”.At the core of this project, since renamed the GC DELI (Grand Challenges Discover, Explore,Learn and Imagine), is the development of novel, learner-centered, internet-based lines of study,for a required entry-level engineering course. The strategy is to give students an opportunity tochoose an area of particular interest and to provide innovative education materials through whichthey can explore important, contemporary engineering topics. Each four-week line of study isknown as a Unit. The topics for the Units are tied to the Grand Challenges for Engineering, andwere selected based on a survey conducted in the entry-level course. The six GC DELI Units are: Energy, Water & the Environment (pilot Unit) Make Solar Energy Economical Provide Access to Clean Water Engineer Better Human Health Engineer the Tools of Scientific Discovery Restore and Improve Urban InfrastructureThe Unit on Energy, Water and the Environment was developed and refined over severalsemesters that preceded the TUES award. The five new Units were: modeled after the originalUnit; developed by faculty members with research and professional expertise in the selectedtopics; and successfully piloted in two sections of the introductory engineering course in Spring2012. All of the Units use a wide variety of tools and strategies to encourage students to takecontrol of their learning while they explore the societal, global, environmental and economiccontext of the problems that captured their interest. Results from the Spring 2012 pilot areencouraging, with two thirds of the students indicating that the opportunity to choose a topic toexplore had a positive impact on their learning. Moreover, a significant number of studentsindicated an increase in commitment to engineering, following the completion of the Units.Student surveys and focus group discussions following the pilot uncovered some problems withthe workload for two of the Units. Students enrolled in these two Units spent considerably moretime on the assigned tasks than students enrolled in other Units. Furthermore, some of the taskswere perceived to be “busy work”. This imbalance seemed to negatively impact students’attitudes toward the two Units and engineering in general. Based on these formative evaluations,a number of important refinements are underway and the updated Units will be launched ineleven sections of the course in Fall 2012. In a parallel effort, the Units are being adapted for ahigh school version of the course taught to approximately 400 students distributed across twenty-three high schools in the southwest United States. In the paper to be presented, we will report onthe salient findings that stem from these continued curricular offerings and modifications. Inparticular, we will examine the effect of the Units on student commitment to engineering. Withthe larger number of participants in the full-scale implementation of the GC DELI, we expect tohave sufficient data to test our original hypothesis that women and Hispanic students'commitment to engineering will increase more than that of students who are notunderrepresented in engineering.
Hunter, J., & Baygents, J. C. (2013, June), Grand Challenges DELI (Discover, Explore, Learn, Imagine) Project Update Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19663
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