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Innovation through Propagation: Learning In and Out of the Classroom

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Works in Progress: Innovation Through Propagation

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Cynthia Finelli is Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, Research Associate Professor of Education, and Founding Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at the University of Michigan. Her research areas include student resistance to active learning, faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching practices, and institutional change. She is a fellow in the American Society of Engineering Education, an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE.

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Jeffrey E. Froyd Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Jeffrey E. Froyd is a TEES Research Professor in the Office of Engineering Academic and Student Affairs at Texas A&M University, College Station. He received the B.S. degree in mathematics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. He was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. At Rose-Hulman, he co-created the Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering and Mathematics, which was recognized in 1997 with a Hesburgh Award Certificate of Excellence. He served as Project Director a National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Education Coalition in which six institutions systematically renewed, assessed, and institutionalized innovative undergraduate engineering curricula. He has authored over 70 papers and offered over 30 workshops on faculty development, curricular change processes, curriculum redesign, and assessment. He has served as a program co-chair for three Frontiers in Education Conferences and the general chair for the 2009 conference. Prof. Froyd is a Fellow of the IEEE, a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), an ABET Program Evaluator, the Editor-in-Chief for the IEEE Transactions on Education, a Senior Associate Editor for the Journal of Engineering Education, and an Associate Editor for the International Journal of STEM Education.

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Larry J. Shuman University of Pittsburgh Orcid 16x16

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Larry J. Shuman is Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Distinguished Service Professor of industrial engineering at the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on improving the
engineering education experience with an emphasis on assessment of design and problem solving, and the study of the ethical behavior of engineers and engineering managers. A former Senior Editor of the Journal of Engineering Education, Shuman is the Founding Editor of Advances in Engineering Education. He has published widely in engineering education literature, and is co-author of Engineering Ethics: Balancing Cost, Schedule and Risk - Lessons Learned from the Space Shuttle (Cambridge University Press). He received his Ph.D. from the Johns Hopkins University in Operations Research and a B.S.E.E. from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Shuman is an ASEE Fellow.

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This work-in-progress paper is part of the Innovation through Propagation Round Table Discussion session.

Motivation and Background: A series of blue ribbon reports has laid out a challenge for engineering education, raising awareness for both what is needed to change and the context (e.g., K12 versus higher education). As documented in a 2012 ASEE also lacking is successful propagation, including a challenge to funding agencies to better exert their role in the propagation of proven successful efforts. That is, propagation should not be simply the dissemination component of research, but also part of the research. Sponsored by the National Science foundation, this is one of three commissioned papers that are focused on developing a research agenda for engineering education focused on propagating documented innovations. As such it addresses four major questions concerning learning in and out of the classroom.

1. What accomplishments have been produced to date? What new innovations have occurred over the past one to one-in-half decades that have lasting value in engineering education?

2. To what extent have innovations been propagated? Have meta-analyses of certain funded innovations across the key areas gleaned useful understanding of how propagation has or has not occurred?

3. What remains to be done? What are the gaps in the research? What are potential root causes as to why the particular innovations have not proliferated across engineering schools?

4. How best can future work be propagated? What type of research agenda is needed over the next five to ten years to facilitate that innovations in engineering education spread across different types of engineering schools, engineering disciplines and engineering coursework? What evidence is required to document a successful innovation?

Methods At the 2015 ASEE session, the results of a Delphi study were presented, and additions and critiques from the over 75 participants were sought. From the Delphi study results, three writing teams, each addressing a critical area (learning in and out of the classroom, pipeline, and technology), have been commissioned. The initial findings of the writing teams were presented at a workshop with leading engineering education researchers (October 2015). The workshop has enabled the writing teams to refine and redefine their ideas based on the multiple perspectives of the participants. Consequently, at the ASEE 2016 national meeting the teams will be presenting their working drafts which will be included in the Proceedings.

Anticipated Results Themes that the paper will address include how best to: • change the culture of teaching to promote creativity and learning; eliminating or reducing those perceived barriers to effective teaching

• strengthen the research to practice cycle

• train and incentivize the next generation of faculty in adopting evidenced based learning methodologies

• develop incentives for faculty to adopt, evidence-based, innovative teaching methods

• develop efficient, minimally invasive assessment and evaluation tools to measure learning both inside and outside the classroom

Significance As stated above, this project is funded by the NSF to develop a roadmap for engineering education research and the propagation of that research with the potential of becoming a national agenda To most effectively accomplish this, it is necessary to capture needs and potential solutions through a number of different approaches that actively involve the larger engineering education community. This will be the fifth step in that process; the first three being: a Delphi study with subject matter experts from across the research and administrative spectrum, a highly interactive session at the ASEE 2015 Conference, and an invited workshop with recognized leaders in the field participating, and YouTube videos regarding the results to date (spring 2016) for wide distribution and comment. This special session will provide another needed opportunity to bring together a large, diverse body of interested engineering faculty, educational researchers and administrators from which to obtain serious feedback on the substantial findings that will be presented. Placing the three papers in a regular session would fragment the project substantially, not allowing for 1.) “promoting” this evolving agenda, 2.) engaging the broader engineering education community, nor 3.) examining the three critical areas in a gestalt manner.

Finelli, C. J., & Froyd, J. E., & Shuman, L. J. (2016, June), Innovation through Propagation: Learning In and Out of the Classroom Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27313

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: © 2016 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