Asee peer logo

How Award Winning Courseware is Impacting Engineering Education

Download Paper |


2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Research Informing Teaching Practice II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.698.1 - 25.698.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Flora P. McMartin Broad-based Knowledge, LLC

visit author page

Flora P. McMartin is the Founder of Broad-based Knowledge, LLC (BbK) , a consulting firm focused on assisting educators in their evaluation of the use and deployment of technology assisted teaching and learning. Throughout her career, she as served as an External Evaluator for a number of CCLI/TUES and NSDL-funded projects associated with community building, peer review of learning materials, faculty development, and dissemination of educational innovation. She is PI for the project “Where have We Come From and Where are We Going? Learning Lessons and Practices from the Projects of the NDSL,” which is building an online history of the development of the NSDL. She is also PI on “Learning from the Best: How Award Winning Courseware has Impacted Engineering Education.” This research focuses on determining how high quality courseware is being disseminated and how it is impacting the culture of engineering education as measured by changes in student learning, teaching practices, and the careers of the authors of these materials.

visit author page

author page

Joseph G. Tront Virginia Tech


Sarah Giersch Broad-based Knowledge, LLC

visit author page

Sarah Giersch is a Consultant for Broad-based Knowledge, LLC (BbK), where she conducts quantitative and qualitative evaluations for BbK's higher education clients. Giersch also consults in the areas of archiving digital materials. Prior to joining BbK, Giersch worked for Columbia University libraries guiding the growth and development of Academic Commons, Columbia’s online research repository. Giersch has also consulted in the area of education technology and specifically on implementing, evaluating, conducting outreach for and promoting the sustainability of education digital libraries. Some of the products developed for clients include surveys to measure the use of networked electronic resources in and user satisfaction with digital libraries; an annotated bibliography on evaluating the educational impact of digital libraries; a business plan review of models to sustain digital libraries; and numerous workshops exploring topics on evaluating, sustaining, and involving participants in building digital libraries. Prior to establishing a consulting practice, Giersch worked in the private sector conducting market analyses and assessments related to deploying technology in higher education. She received a M.S.L.S. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

visit author page

Download Paper |


How Award Winning Courseware is Impacting Engineering EducationThe Premier Award for Excellence in Engineering Education Courseware competition issponsored by the Engineering Pathway (EP), and its precursor NEEDS, and has the goal ofimproving engineering education by recognizing the authors of innovative, high-quality, non-commercial courseware. Since its inception in 1997, over 100 courseware submissions have beenpeer-reviewed, and 22 awardees and eight finalist candidates have been recognized. The awardwinning courseware has been disseminated widely to engineering educators at universities andhigh schools and has historically been the most frequently downloaded material on theNEEDS/EP website. Additionally, over 40,000 CD-ROMs containing the courseware have beendistributed.In this paper, we report on a case study currently being conducted regarding the impact of thePremier Award (PA) on engineering education. This paper describes the first phase of ourresearch and findings. Our research questions include: 1. How has receipt of the PA impacted the awardees’ career paths and why? 2. How has the quality of the courseware submitted changed over time? 3. How has the award winning courseware affected student learning? 4. What kinds of dissemination activities and mechanisms are successful in promoting successful adoption and use of courseware?The first phase of our research comprises content analysis and interviews. We have conducted anin-depth content analysis of the dossiers submitted for consideration for the award to learn howcourseware design, use, and assessment have changed over time. Building on these data, we areconducting interviews with the approximately 40 authors of the courseware. In these interviewswe discuss: the motivation for creating the courseware; efforts and strategies used to disseminateor share it with others; success of dissemination efforts to date, and awardees’ impressions of theimpact of the award on their careers and engineering education. Results and findings from thecontent analysis and interviews will be reported in the paper and presentation.Of particular interest is determining the level to which the PA supports awardees’ teachinginnovations and student learning in both phases of the research. During the second phase of theresearch, we will focus more specifically on the impact of award-winning courseware on studentlearning and changing the campus culture with regards to technology and teaching. We willsurvey adopters of the courseware and conduct focus groups with campus administrators duringthis phase of the research.The ultimate goal of this research is to reveal the successes and challenges faculty members andteachers face in finding, adopting and using innovative, high quality, digital learning materials.The research will result in a rich description of the cultural shifts in engineering educationresulting from the increased development and use courseware in teaching and rewardingtechnology education innovators, the nuances of the situations adopters find themselves in whentrying to use courseware they did not develop, and the perceptions that hinder adoption of highquality learning materials more broadly in higher education.

McMartin, F. P., & Tront, J. G., & Giersch, S. (2012, June), How Award Winning Courseware is Impacting Engineering Education Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21455

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2012 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015